Da Kų Cultural Centre celebrates Champagne and Aishihik First Nations culture and connection to the land
The Da Kų Cultural Centre is a prime example of the realization of self-government.
The self-governing Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) created the vision and design for the facility with its citizens over many years and completed construction in 2012.
The Centre acts as a hub for the community, as well as welcoming visitors to learn more about the culture, traditions and natural land scape of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
Da Kų, which means Our House in Southern Tutchone, is a teaching, curatorial and interpretive facility that provides programming for CAFN citizens as well as the general public.
Additionally, the Centre hosts the Parks Canada Kluane National Park Visitor Centre and the Yukon Government’s Visitor Information Centre in Haines Junction.
“Champagne and Aishihik First Nations is tremendously proud of our new Da Kų Cultural Centre, which honours and strengthens our vibrant traditional culture and language, and provides new tourism and economic opportunities for our people,” then Chief James Allen said on June 1, 2013 during the grand opening celebration at Da Kų.
“We are glad to join with the governments of Canada and Yukon to celebrate the grand opening of this state-of-the-art facility. It is especially significant that we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of our CAFN Final and Self-Government agreements on this historic day, as Da Kų is a prime example of the realization of Self-Government."
The Centre is built on Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Settlement Land in Haines Junction. CAFN built the Centre using money from its land claim settlement agreement, by negotiating funding agreements with the governments of Canada and Yukon, and by establishing long-term leases for space occupied by Parks Canada and Yukon visitor services.
At 27,000 square feet, Da Kų is one of the largest buildings in Yukon outside of Whitehorse, and also contains the only climate-controlled artifact storage facility outside Whitehorse.
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations delivers language, culture and heritage programs at Da Kų year-round. Da Kų Cultural Centre is open to visitors from May to September.
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) signed its Final and Self-Government Agreements on May 29, 1993
Who are we?
The Southern Tutchone and Tlingit ancestors of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) followed a subsistence lifestyle that included trapping and trading. Today, harvesting the bounties of the land continues to connect CAFN citizens to their heritage and homelands.
Where are we?
CAFN Traditional Territory is more than 41,000 square kilometers in southwest Yukon and extends into northern British Columbia, including large areas within Kluane National Park, Kusawa Territorial Park and Tatshenshini- Alsek Park. CAFN has six communities including Champagne, the Takhini River subdivision, Canyon, Aishihik Village, Klukshu and Haines Junction where their government is headquartered.
Benefits of the Agreements
CAFN has passed laws on a wide range of matters of importance to its citizens, including the CAFN Constitution, Government Administration Act, Fish and Wildlife Act, Dákwänje Nàtsùal (Language) Act and several others.
CAFN is named for two of its historic settlements: Shadhäla (Champagne) located on the Dezadeash River; and Äshèyi (Aishihik), at the headwaters of the Alsek River drainage.