Yukon FN activism and the Umbrella Final Agreement (8 periods)

Elijah Smith (front row, right) leading a delegation of Yukon chiefs to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, where they delivered the document “Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow.”

In the 1970s, Yukon First Nations leaders examined their peoples’ situation and decided to try to make things better. Through negotiations with the Canadian government and social development programs, they made many of the decisions and achieved many of the successes that have led to improved conditions for their descendents. Vocabulary words for this unit

Orientation: midcentury challenges (1 period)

You will read a short comic strip about the construction of the Alaska highway, a pamphlet about squatter evictions published by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, a fact sheet about the Faro mine, and an excerpt from Jean Chretien’s 1969 White Paper. You will then fill out this table describing the challenges that Yukon First Nations people faced in the middle of the twentieth century.  As part of the exercise you will propose possible solutions to these problems.

Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow (3 periods)

In 1973, the Council for Yukon Indians published an extraordinary pamphlet entitled Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow (TTFOCT).  TTFOCT presented the history of the Yukon from a First Nations perspective, listed several difficult issues that Yukon First Nations people were facing and numerous grievances against the federal government, and proposed a settlement based on land rights and control over social services. Video: Mapping the Way (4 minutes) We will be doing a close reading of this very important document.  To begin with, I will assign you a section of the document.  Your job will be to answer the questions on this worksheet about your section. You will hand in these worksheets for our seminar tomorrow. I will pass out everyone’s worksheets to help structure a seminar based on your close readings. You will then write a paragraph response to the following question:

  • What were the main grievances expressed in Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, and what recommendations did that document make to address those grievances?

Third lesson: we open with a tribute to Elijah Smith delivered by Darius Elias in the Yukon Legislature, and a Yukon News article about a more recent commemoration event.

The Umbrella Final Agreement (1 period)

In response to the grievances and recommendations presented in TTFOCT, Yukon First Nations people achieved, through negotiation with the federal government, the Umbrella Final Agreement: the basis of most modern treaties in the territory. We begin by gaining an appreciation of the importance and magnitude of the Umbrella Agreement through the news article Yukon First Nations held up as global role models We then discuss the actual agreement.  You may wish to refer to  its original text, or the more reader-friendly document Understanding the umbrella final agreement.

Powerpoint on the UFA

Individual Research Project: Land-claims negotiations (2 periods)

The Umbrella Final Agreement was a political document; not a legal one.  It outlined the agreements-in-principle that the Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Territorial Government, and Government of Canada had arrived at in their negotiations.  But after the UFA was written, each Yukon First Nation still needed to negotiate a treaty to finalize the rights and responsibilities described in the UFA.  One of the most important rights detailed in the agreements is a right to control over land. You will choose a CYFN-member First Nation and study their land-claim agreement.  Following the instructions here, and using the map data here, you will produce a blog post containing a Google Map showing the First Nation’s land settlement areas.  You will use the data produced by your Google map to estimate the approximate percentage of the First Nation’s traditional territory that it has Category A or B rights to.

Test (1 period)

Video Resources