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New College Yukon First Nations Art certificate program recruiting students

by ahnationtalk on June 18, 20191217 Views

June 18, 2019

WHITEHORSE—Applications and registrations are now open for the new Yukon First Nations Art certificate program at Yukon College. The program starts this September at Ayamdigut campus.

Students will receive hands-on instruction in beadwork, sewing, traditional footwear, carving, and fine craftwork. Courses also include English, Math, product development and exploration of the skills and characteristics to develop a career producing high-quality traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.

Darlene “Shakhwaye” Scurvey, artist, Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizen and member of the wolf clan, is the lead instructor. Darlene was taught to bead as a child by her mother, eventually becoming skilled at creating beaded moose teeth necklaces for sale alongside her mother’s mukluks.

Darlene has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina and Yukon College. She also holds a Native Cultural Arts Instructor certificate from Portage College. Darlene works in a wide range of mediums including sewing, beading, water colors, moose hair tufting, birch bark baskets, and porcupine quills.

In 2017, Darlene received a Polar Medal from the Governor General of Canada for her work promoting traditional language and culture and her language nest program was recognized with a royal visit from their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal couple were gifted with a Southern Tutchone booklet published for Dusk’a Headstart Family Learning Centre children nán’į yè Uka Nànnta; Hide and Peek.

“My greatest moments of happiness are when teaching traditional arts and culture to younger generations or being out on the land. Our land here is so beautiful and abundant with everything we need to create authentic, vibrant art and crafts. I aim to encourage innovation and value credibility and integrity in the students,” said Scurvey.

The program was developed by Elizabeth Bosely and builds upon curriculum from Aurora College in NWT and Portage College in Alberta. In developing the program, Bosely consulted with Yukon First Nations artists and artisans, heritage staff and Education and Training officers, as well as community campus committees. Bosely is a consultant during this first year of the program providing guidance to Scurvey and other instructors.

The program aims to help Yukon First Nations build capacity amongst citizens to maintain traditional arts and crafts and produce local, authentic, high-quality goods for heritage centres.

Graduates will be prepared for work as independent artisans, producing original arts and crafts for the expanding local and international markets, or employment in community-based art production centres, heritage centres, museums, First Nations governments or as contractors for commissioned artwork and sales.

For more information please visit

For interviews please contact:

Elizabeth Bosely

Darlene Scurvey


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