Harper Government Invests in First Nations Culture and Heritage

DAWSON CITY, OLD CROW, YT, July 27, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation will undertake projects aimed at preserving and showcasing the rich culture and heritage of the region, thanks to support from the Government of Canda. This was announced today by Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament (Yukon), on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Funding will allow the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, located in Old Crow, to research Gwich'in traditional navigation routes and land use. This will include researching and documenting the Van Tat Gwich'in historical and contemporary land to revitalize trails, adding signage along the Crow Flats trail, and producing educational manuals about traditional Gwich'in technologies and cultural systems.

Additional funds will allow the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation to renovate the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City. Renovation will involve applying a waterproof membrane to the exterior of the Centre's round room and sealing cracks over a connecting walkway. Once completed, the Cultural Centre will be able to offer year-round arts and heritage programming and present exhibitions to visitors and tourists.

"This year marks the start of the five-year countdown to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017," said Minister Moore. "Our Government is proud to invest in projects that contribute to our collective identity and define who we are as Canadians. On the road to 2017, let us continue to celebrate all of the things that make Canada the united, prosperous, and free country we are today."

"Investing in arts and culture is central to the economic health of communities across Canada," said Mr. Leef. "These investments will provide residents from Old Crow and Dawson City with greater access to cultural activities."

"On behalf of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government Heritage Branch, we are very pleased about receiving this funding from the Government of Canada. The funding is very beneficial to our community of Old Crow, Yukon. We have been documenting the oral histories of the Vuntut Gwitchin, gathering information about life on the land, geography, such as the Gwich'in placenames mapping places on the land, that hold important traditional knowledge of our people. The elders have in the past told us their stories of their whole way of life that is connected to the land and animals on which they had subsisted, and those stories continue on—we are still able to hear them today," said Mary Jane Moses, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. "We are so very grateful for the funding; without it, we would not be able to pass this valuable traditional knowledge down to future generations. Mahsi' Choo."

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) is focused on protecting its lands and resources and ensuring the continued viability of its culture and language. The First Nation is located in Old Crow, situated on the banks of the Porcupine River, and is the only Yukon community north of the Arctic Circle. VGFN co-manages two historic sites, Rampart House and LaPierre House, with the Yukon government.

The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in (TH) is a self-governing First Nation in Dawson City, Yukon. The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in heritage department serves the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in people by preserving, celebrating, and expressing TH culture and heritage.

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $100,000 through the Museum Assistance Program toward the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. This program provides funding to Canadian museums and related institutions for projects that foster excellence in museum activities and that facilitate access to the treasures of our collective heritage.

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $10,000 through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund toward the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation. This program seeks to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentations or exhibitions. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing, visual and media arts, museum collections and heritage displays.

(This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Newsroom.) 

SOURCE: Canadian Heritage

For further information:

For more information (media only), please contact:

Sébastien Gariépy
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of
Canadian Heritage and
Official Languages

Perry Boldt
Regional Manager
Western Region
Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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