Statement from the Government of Yukon on National Indigenous History Month

Premier Ranj Pillai has issued the following statement:  

“This June, the Government of Yukon recognizes and honours National Indigenous History Month. It is a time to reflect on the rich history, heritage, resiliency and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across our territory and Canada.

"This is an important time for Yukoners to learn about the unique and rich cultures, traditions and achievements of Indigenous Peoples in the Yukon. 

"Since time immemorial, Yukon First Nations’ cultures, traditions and contributions have shaped the territory and remain integral to our society. Each of the 14 Yukon First Nations and six transboundary Nations have their own diverse cultures and traditions that enrich our territory.

“At the heart of culture is language. The Yukon is home to eight Indigenous languages, each with multiple dialects: Nee’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana), Gwich’in, Hän, Dän K’è (Southern Tutchone), Dän K’í (Northern Tutchone), Tàgish, Lingít (Tlingit) and Dene K’éh (Kaska).

“Under colonization, Yukon First Nations languages suffered greatly. As Yukon First Nations championed their right to self-determination and self-government, their perseverance and work have revitalized Indigenous languages and reinvigorated cultural practices.

“We commend the dedication of the Yukon First Nations governments, local language organizations, the Yukon Native Language Centre, the Council of Yukon First Nations, community members and Elders for their efforts to promote and support the revitalization of Yukon First Nation languages. 

“This important work is far from over. Continued support is essential to foster growth of both native speakers and new learners. Our government is proud to support First Nations language programs in our schools with funding in the Budget 2024–25, alongside programs to bring First Nations Elders into the classroom to share their knowledge with our young Yukoners.

“During National Indigenous History Month, it is important for Yukoners to educate themselves on the experiences of Indigenous Peoples and understand their own role in Reconciliation. This includes acknowledging and confronting the historic and ongoing challenges, injustices and systemic barriers Indigenous Peoples face. It also means acknowledging Yukon First Nations’ vision and determination in keeping their languages and cultures alive to build vibrant communities.

“I encourage Yukoners to expand their learning and listen to Indigenous voices. Seek out Indigenous art and storytelling and participate in activities that celebrate and honour Indigenous culture like upcoming National Indigenous Peoples Day events on June 21 and the Adäka Cultural Festival. Check out the Yukon Native Language Centre’s resources to explore and learn the Yukon’s Indigenous languages.

“By listening to one another, we can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding that cultivates mutual respect and a more inclusive and equitable Yukon.

“Happy National Indigenous History Month!” 

Media contact 

Laura Seeley 
Cabinet Communications 

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