The influx of miners and explorers during the KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH of the late 1890s and building of the ALASKA HIGHWAY in 1942 drastically altered Tutchone culture. The Aboriginal people gradually shifted to a dual economy based on wage labour as well as hunting, fishing and trapping.
Land Claims Settlement
Like other Yukon Aboriginal peoples the Tutchone did not sign a treaty (see INDIAN TREATIES) and several Tutchone leaders, such as Elijah Smith (died 1991), Paul Birckel and Harry Allen, through helping to develop the Council for Yukon Indians (now the Council of Yukon First Nations), helped bring about a LAND CLAIMS settlement signed by most Yukon First Nations in 1993. Tutchone were also active in forming the Council of Yukon First Nations, organized in August 1995 with the goal of establishing a Yukon First Nation government to co-exist with the Yukon Territorial and federal governments.
The Northern Tutchone Tribal Council comprises the Nacho Nyak Dun, Selkirk, and Little Salmon Carmacks First Nations. The Nacho Nyak Dun became self-governing in 1993, followed by Selkirk, and Little Salmon Carmacks First Nations in 1997. The Southern Tutchone comprise the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN), Kluane, and the Ta'an Kwach'an First Nations. In 1993 the CAFN's and the federal government signed the First Nation's Final Agreement confirming the CAFN's rights to their traditional lands and resources. In 1998, Ta'an Kwach'an Council separated from the Whitehorse Indian Band and became an independent band, recognized by the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. The Ta'an Kwach'an Council gained self-government and rights to the Ta'an Kwach'an lands and resources in 2002, and the Kluane First Nation signed their self-government agreement in 2003.
Tutchone politician Judy Gingell was the first Aboriginal Commissioner of Yukon and served from 1995-2000.
See also NATIVE PEOPLE, SUBARCTIC and general articles under NATIVE PEOPLE.