City of Whitehorse permanently raises First Nations flags, unveils City Hall translation
Today, the City of Whitehorse permanently raised the flags of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation in front of City Hall, now translated to Kwänlin Kêye Ghända Ghakwije Kų in the Southern Tutchone Lake Laberge dialect.
The City of Whitehorse is located on the Traditional Territories of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation and both First Nations are self-governing nations with rights enshrined through their Final and Self-government agreements.
This installation reflects the City’s place in relation to both First Nations, and their place as a level of government in the Yukon. The flags are organized according to protocol starting with the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon, the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and the City of Whitehorse.
The City also unveiled a translated name for City Hall. The translation means “place where they talk about Kwanlin (Whitehorse) area”/ “Place where they discuss Whitehorse area (affairs:business).” This highlights the work that happens at City Hall and is the first of several translated place names planned for City buildings.
The City of Whitehorse continues to look for ways to bring forward meaningful acts of reconciliation that honour the important the history and legacy of First Nations in our community and the status they hold as governments.
“The City of Whitehorse has a great working relationship with both the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and we recognize their status as self-governing First Nations. Raising their flags is long overdue and shows our whole community they play a critical role in shaping our community. I am so thankful for the work of Nakhela Hazel Bunbury, Debbie Burns, and Stewart Tizya who translated the name of City Hall. Language is one of the many ways to acknowledge whose land we are on and who was here before us.” Mayor Laura Cabott
“Today is a major milestone for the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council who have considered the Whitehorse area our home community for thousands of years. By showcasing our language of Southern Tutchone for all to see here in the capital city is a tremendous honour and long overdue. This gesture will go a long way towards keeping our voice vibrant and our culture alive. By having our flag and that of Kwanlin Dün as a permanent fixture is a reflection of our unique partnership as landowners and governments. We want to thank Mayor Laura Cabott and City Council for embracing this special recognition. Ta’an Kwächän Council looks forward to working on more initiatives together that will continue on the path towards reconciliation.” Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Amanda Leas
“We thank Elder Nakhela Hazel Bunbury, Debbie Burns, and Stewart Tizya for their translation. We are heartened to see the City of Whitehorse’s commitment to including language and symbols of our partnership in its buildings. We look forward to further conversations on Yukon First Nation representation in municipal government and concrete actions that will move us toward reconciliation.” Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Sean Smith