The Southern Lakes Yukon encompasses a landmass of approximately 25,000 square kilometers including some of the largest rivers and lakes within the Yukon Territory. This landmass is made up of the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN), Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC). Salmon have been a part of this landscape, the people and the culture for millennia. These traditional territories are also located in the proximity to the large urban centre of Whitehorse. Much of this traditional territory remains effective habitat for a full range of northern boreal species and ecosystems, including salmon.
While there is increasing competition for natural resources, habitat loss, and a need for pursuing the wage economy, there is an important cultural connection to salmon that is remembered and held by the Elders. There are few active fish camps, and few people fishing, however, the culture, ceremony and commitment to salmon is strong and woven into the people, cultures within these three First Nations.
There has always been salmon stewardship, participation in management, and a cultural commitment to salmon within these traditional territories. This project will bring together the KDFN and the C/TFN to reinvigorate, energize and collaborate on the phase 1 of salmon related: management, research, traditional knowledge acquisition, culture and ceremony, and land use mapping and identification of cultural and natural values associated with a conservation area design (CAD). Phase 2 to be applied for in 2020 will work with the information from phase 1 and will be instrumental in the development of a community-based Southern Lakes Salmon Management Plan and further refine the CAD for the focal species, salmon.