Champagne and Aishihik Frist Nations and Yukon College are partnering on an Interpretive guiding course called Dän Dákeyi Uyenì, southern Tutchone for “that person knows our country”.
Champagne and Aishihik Frist Nations and Yukon College are partnering on an Interpretive guiding course called Dän Dákeyi Uyenì, southern Tutchone for “that person knows our country”. The course is based in a wall tent on Yukon College’s Ayamdigut campus in Whitehorse, with regular backcountry trips in the Champagne Aishihik traditional territory. The course features skills and certifications that will allow graduates to work as wilderness guides and interpreters. The program focuses on northern content, indigenous ways of knowing, doing and begin, and expected to result in land-based employment.
Eric Hoogstraten is the Department Head of the Southern Campuses. He says that the program combines traditional knowledge with technical certifications and that graduates will be well positioned for guiding work in the territory, whether working for an outfitter, or self employed. The program has 7 students enrolled currently, all citizens of the Champagne Aishihik First Nation. Students have had the chance to set traps, make traditional snowshoes, bones knives and other traditional crafts. The course has been well received by the students and according to them, it opens up good opportunity.
JT Papequash is one of the students in the course, who was making a traditional wooden and babiche snow shoe in the wall tent during the press release. He says he was already planning on starting a fishing and hunting guiding business, and when the program started, it was great timing. Papequash says he is getting renewed practice at skills and learning new ones as well. According to Chelsea Anna-Etienne, another student in the course, its full-time work, often from 9 in the morning to as late as 8 at night, but she says that the new skills she is learning make the commitment worth while.
The program has funding through the Champagne Aishihik First Nation’s Dän Ts’änānän program which is a four-year, $7.5 million project funded through the Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund. The program’s aim is training to employment program that supports Champagne Aishihik citizens in personalized skills development for stable long-term employment