The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are a Yukon First Nation based in Dawson City. The citizenship of roughly 1,100 includes descendants of the Hän-speaking people, who have lived along the Yukon River for millennia, and a diverse mix of families descended from Gwich’in, Northern Tutchone and other language groups.
Yukon First Nations set the land-claims process in motion during the 1970s. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in began negotiating their individual land claim in 1991. The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement was signed on July 16, 1998, and came into effect on September 15, 1998.
The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in government ensures a strong and healthy future for citizens while maintaining connections to traditional knowledge and the land. The First Nation is governed by an elected Chief and four councillors, who rely on direction from the Elders’ Council, a body comprising all Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people aged 55 and over. The General Assembly—all voting-age citizens—gather at least once a year to pass extraordinary resolutions, approve legislation and provide direction to political leaders.
Government departments established since the effective date of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in agreements include the following:
- Administration—oversees the general operations of the government.
- Finance—administers the financial responsibilities of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.
- Health and Social Program—delivers wellness programming and community support.
- Heritage—cares for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in heritage resources, both on the land and in government holdings.
- Housing and Infrastructure—manages the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in housing program and guides new home construction.
- Human Resources and Education—deals with government staffing and training as well as preschool to adult education issues.
- Implementation—assists the First Nation in exercising their authority under the final and self-government agreements.
- Natural Resources—directs land-based work and wildlife monitoring and conservation programs.