Since the land claim and self-government agreements were signed, people have noticed some powerful changes.
Frances Oles, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations citizen
For me, it’s united people across the Yukon as Native people, and made our culture and our history valuable. Growing up and going to school in the generation that I did, we weren’t part of the history. So the lives and the history of my ancestors was never important. And because of land claims, I think it’s helped me really think about what’s important. Where you came from is as important as where you go, so it makes a big impact on future generations. I think it’s made me really proud to be who I am.
Marilyn Jensen, M.A., Yukon College Indigenous Governance Instructor, & Founder of the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers
When I was a child, growing up in the 70’s the situation, living conditions, poverty, racism, and just human rights was really low. And I can see the progress that our people have made. One of the biggest avenues for self-determination I think for us is healing and strengthening our people. That’s a big part of the vision, that our children will be strong and that they will have a place and they will know their place and they will absolutely never ever feel bad about being Indigenous, never again.
Jackie Olson, Former Director of Heritage, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in
We’ve come so far, it’s just unbelievable. The sense of feeling they’re worth something and that pride in themselves and self-worth is unbelievable. We have people that are like “yeah, I can do it. I have something to contribute” and that’s because we are self-governing and all our programs are geared around “let’s raise our people up to be strong people.” And our future generations need to be raised in that same way. It’s not about how Indian Affairs or the government can give me, it’s about what can I do to keep my government strong.