New sign at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport acknowledges traditional territories in Southern Tutchone

The new sign reads "Welcome to Whitehorse and the Traditional Territories of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation. We are happy to see you." (Photo: S. Bonell)

The new sign welcomes visitors in the arrivals area.

The Government of Yukon has painted a new sign at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport to acknowledge traditional territories and welcome visitors.

In a media release on June 27, the Yukon government announced the new welcome sign that acknowledges the traditional territories of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation in Southern Tutchone, English, French, and German.

The release calls this new signage another step in ongoing work to strengthen relationships with Yukon First Nations governments by encouraging visitors to learn about their histories and cultures.

“I am happy to see this new land acknowledgment sign welcome visitors and those returning to our beautiful home,” said Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Sean Smith in the release. “Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world choose the Yukon as a vacation destination each year. Many of them arrive here at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.”

“This new sign will help teach people about the Traditional Territories of our home. If this is your first time here, I encourage you to get out on the land to enjoy some of the breath-taking scenery we have to offer. From Chasàn Chuà, McIntyre Creek, to Łu Zil Män, Fish Lake, to Kwanlin or Miles Canyon, your adventure awaits! Dakeyī yè chù mayè nìít’är. Respect our land and water please.”

“In the spirit of the Land Claims, I am pleased to see that decades of partnerships allow us to proudly welcome visitors from all over the world to our Traditional Territory,” said Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Amanda Leas. “ Join us in keeping the Yukon larger than life, clean, and thriving by enjoying the land respectfully for all visitors and for future generations that call Yukon home.”

“The new sign at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport is an important addition to our government’s commitment to collaborating with and celebrating Yukon First Nations,” said Highways and Public Works Minister Nils Clarke in the release. “This sign is one way we can recognize the histories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council as stewards of this land since time immemorial.”

“I look forward to this sign enriching our airport and encouraging all travellers to learn more about the histories, rich cultures, traditions, and significant contributions of Yukon First Nations.”

“It is important to recognize the vibrant cultural heritage and deep connections of Yukon First Nations and the Yukon Francophone community for visitors flying into the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport,” said Minister of Tourism and Culture and Minister Responsible for French Language Services Directorate John Streicker in the release. “Beyond a welcoming introduction to the Yukon experience, the new sign also embodies the collaborative spirit that propels our territory forward, making it a remarkable place to visit and call home for Yukoners.”

Over 400,000 passengers travel to and from Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport every year.

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