Tr’ondëk-Klondike inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

by ahnationtalk on September 18, 202388 Views

From: Parks Canada

This serial property comprised of eight distinct heritage locations is a living record of a period of profound change and upheaval for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in with the onset of colonial expansion

September 18, 2023

During yesterday’s proceedings at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tr’ondëk-Klondike, located in the homeland of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in in northwestern Canada, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Led by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Government and the Tr’ondëk-Klondike World Heritage Site Advisory Committee, with support from the Government of Yukon, the City of Dawson, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), and Parks Canada, Tr’ondëk-Klondike tells the story of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s experiences and responses to the startlingly rapid expansion of colonialism in their homeland between 1874 and 1908. Archaeological and historical evidence denotes timelines of both Indigenous and settler occupation of important sites throughout the region and together are a comprehensive record of the events that transformed the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in way of life.

Tr’ondëk-Klondike World Heritage site is a serial property comprised of eight distinct heritage locations: Fort Reliance; Ch’ëdähdëk (Forty Mile); Ch’ëdähdëk Tth’än K’et (Dënezhu Graveyard); Fort Cudahy and Fort Constantine; Tr’ochëk; Dawson City; Jëjik Dhä Dënezhu Kek’it (Moosehide Village); and Jëjik Dhä Tthe Zra’y Kek’it (Black City). These sites collectively total 334 hectares of land and encompass component sites along parts of the Yukon River and the Blackstone River.

The unique cultural makeup of the region is the product of the coexistence of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and settlers over the last century and a half. The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in experience and adaptation to European settler colonialism marked the landscape with distinct cultural heritage attributes that remain to this day.

With this inscription, Tr’ondëk-Klondike joins the expanding list of World Heritage sites in Canada which includes awe-inspiring locations such as Nahanni National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Gros Morne National Park, the Historic District of Old Québec, and the Rideau Canal.

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Additional multimedia

Corporate logos of the groups involved in Tr’ondëk-Klondike being named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Quotes

“It’s been over a decade since Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in took on the administration of the Tr’ondëk-Klondike World Heritage project and we’re happy to receive this news. Tr’ondëk-Klondike provides us with another opportunity to tell our story – the story of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and our continual stewardship of this land since time immemorial. In this nomination we honour our ancestors who stewarded the land before us, and we look to the future, with the knowledge that these special places will be respected by generations to come.”

Hähkè Darren Taylor
Chief of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

“Tr’ondëk-Klondike is an example of a landscape irrevocably and rapidly changed by colonial expansion in the Yukon. It is only with deep reflection that the impacts that colonial expansion had on the lands, waters and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in can be understood. The inscription of Tr’ondëk-Klondike to the World Heritage List is a momentous occasion and the result of many years of dedication from everyone involved. Congratulations to the Tr’ondëk-Klondike World Heritage Site Advisory Committee and everyone involved in this inscription!”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“My first thought with this inscription, was to remember all the people who contributed, the people who worked so tirelessly to tell the story, to share the story, making sure our history would not continue to be overshadowed by the gold rush narrative. Many of these important contributors are no longer with us. With this inscription, we honour all the elders, staff, and community members who contributed knowledge, time, and enthusiasm to this project. The inscription of Tr’ondëk-Klondike as a World Heritage site confirms what we have always known – that this land is very sacred to us, and it tells a story relevant to the world. The ongoing challenge of colonialism is a system of oppression that has affected many Indigenous peoples, it is important that we are talking about this, and people are learning. Visitors to our lands will benefit from this knowledge.”

Debbie Nagano
Director of Heritage for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Co-Chair of the Tr’ondëk-Klondike World Heritage Site (TKWHS) Advisory Committee

“I am proud to see Tr’ondëk-Klondike officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to years of hard work by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. By investing in important work such as this, our government is supporting First Nations in sharing their stories with more Canadians and with people across the world.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

“Congratulations to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and to each and every individual who contributed to the inscription of Tr’ondëk-Klondike as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The story told through Tr’ondëk-Klondike at last provides crucial and often harrowing perspective long missing from the established narrative of the Klondike Gold Rush. The Government of Yukon is proud to have been a partner in this important achievement.”

John Streicker
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon

Quick facts

  • The Tr’ondëk-Klondike inscription project is led by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and guided by a community-based Advisory Committee. The Committee includes representatives from the Klondike Visitors Association, Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, Dawson City Museum, Klondike Placer Miners Association, Yukon Chamber of Mines, City of Dawson, Government of Yukon – Tourism and Culture, Parks Canada – Klondike National Historic Sites, up to four residents, and a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizen.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites are important to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.
  • Parks Canada, as Canada’s State Party representative to the World Heritage Convention, leads its implementation in Canada and co-ordinates the input and activities of provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous partners. Parks Canada also has either full or shared responsibilities for the management of 13 of Canada’s 21 World Heritage sites. Eight others are managed wholly by other jurisdictions such as municipal, provincial, or Indigenous authorities.
  • Tr’ondëk-Klondike is the Yukon’s first cultural World Heritage site. Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek, located in Yukon, Alaska and BC, was inscribed as a natural World Heritage site in 1979.
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in is a self-governing First Nation, with a population of approximately 1300 citizens.
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory is centred on the Yukon River, in north-central Yukon.
  • The  Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) has provided over $1.4 million to support Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s UNESCO nomination for Tr’ondëk-Klondike, including recent investments of:o    More than $710,000, between 2016 to 2019, through the Community Readiness and Opportunities Planning (CROP) stream of the Northern Indigenous Economic Opportunities Program (NIEOP), which works to improve the economic development capacity of Indigenous communities and increase economic development across the three territories.o    And $99,000 in 2021 through the Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) program, which makes foundational investments in economic infrastructure, sector development and capacity building to help position Northerners in the territories to take advantage of Canada’s innovation economy.

Associated links

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

Valerie Williams
Director of Communications and Policy
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Government
867-993- 2954
valerie.williams@trondek.ca

Cameron Webber
Communications, Tourism and Culture
Government of Yukon
867-332-0400
cameron.webber@yukon.ca

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