Chapter 5 – Yukon Indigenous Peoples and Governance

First Nation Final Agreements

The heart of each of the First Nation Final Agreements is a co-management model where Yukon’s First Nation peoples and the territorial government work together to manage Yukon Territory.  Each First Nation took the UFA framework back to their community to consider how to best implement it in their territory. From this work, came the First Nations’ modern treaty which includes three main elements: the Umbrella Final Agreement, the individual First Nation Final Agreements and the individual First Nation Self-Government Agreements. Implementation plans were developed to put these final agreements in place. The individual Yukon First Nation Final Agreements came into effect after the UFA was finalized and “include all the provisions of the UFA along with specific provisions that apply specifically to that individual Yukon First Nation” (Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Government 1997). One example of a specific provision can be found in the Teslin Tlingit Council Final Agreement. Chapter 13: Heritage has a specific provision that reads, “A Person who accidentally discovers a Heritage Resource on Teslin Tlingit Council Settlement Land shall take such steps as are reasonable in all circumstances to safeguard the Heritage Resource and shall report as soon as practicable that discovery to the Teslin Tlingit Council”(Teslin Tlingit Council and Canada 1993: clvii). Another example is found in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in agreement. One of the specific provisions found within their Chapter 13: Heritage section states that, “In developing a land use plan which includes all or part of the Traditional Territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, a Regional Land Use Planning Commission shall take into account the cultural and heritage significance of the heritage routes and sites identified in Schedule C – Heritage Routes and Sites, attached to this chapter” (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Canada 1998:163). These are specific provisions that may not appear in other First Nation Final Agreements.

A Yukon First Nation Final Agreement is legally binding once it has formal ratification[1] and is “brought into effect” (Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Government 1997). Each First Nation Final Agreement is recognized in section 35 of the federal Constitution Act, 1982. Currently, eleven of fourteen Yukon First Nations have signed their individual First Nation Final Agreements and their Self Government Agreements (SGA). The latter are described in more detail in the next section.

The “first four” communities that signed were, Champagne and Aishihik First Nation, Teslin Tlingit Council, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, and Vuntut Gwitchin Government, who all signed in 1995. The last seven who signed in subsequent years were:

  • Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (1997),
  • Selkirk First Nation (1997),
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (1998),
  • Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (2002),
  • Kluane First Nation (2004),
  • Kwanlin Dün First Nation (2005), and
  • Carcross/Tagish First Nation (2006).

  1. Ratification is defined as the action of signing or giving formal consent to a treaty, contract, or agreement, making it officially valid.

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ECHO: Ethnographic, Cultural and Historical Overview of Yukon's First Peoples by Victoria Elena Castillo, Christine Schreyer, and Tosh Southwick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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