Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Fall Harvest Culture Camp Celebrates a Timeless Tradition

(Clockwise from top left) Natasha Ayoub and Debbie Nagano cleaning a moose head. Leigh Joseph gives a tea blending workshop. Angie Joseph Rear cleaning a grouse. R.J. Nagano smoking chum salmon. Photos by Tess Crocker.

This past weekend the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation held their Fall Harvest Culture Camp at Forty Mile. This is an annual event where traditional knowledge is shared with youth and adults.

Forty Mile is  77 km down the Yukon river from Dawson City at the confluence of the Yukon and Fortymile Rivers. It is known as the oldest town in the Yukon, but  was largely abandoned during the Klondike Gold Rush. The location is currently a historic site co-owned and co-managed by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Government of Yukon.

Forty Mile has a much longer history, however, as a harvest area used by First Nations for generations. This location was one of the major fall river-crossing points of the Fortymile caribou herd. Hunters would intercept the herd here as it crossed the Yukon River. In spring and summer, it was the site of an important Arctic grayling and salmon fishery.

The Fall Harvest Culture Camp saw harvesting of moose, chum salmon, and grouse, as well as wild plants and berries from the forest.  It was a successful harvest, taking place in a beautiful and peaceful location, and overall a wonderful weekend.

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