Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in translation

Our language

The Hän language is spoken by our Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, a community located in the Dawson City region of Yukon, Canada. We are part of the Hän linguistic grouping, also known as Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. We have a long and rich heritage, with traditional knowledge passed down through generations to survive in the challenging Yukon environment.

For thousands of years, we, the Hän-speaking people have lived along the Yukon River, relying on its resources for sustenance. We traveled extensively in our traditional territory, hunting salmon from the river and caribou from the Chʼëdäh Dëk (Fortymile) and Porcupine Herds. We also gathered plants, berries, and other food sources, while trading with neighboring First Nations and maintaining familial connections.

The arrival of European fur traders and missionaries in the mid-19th century brought new challenges and opportunities for us. We adapted by incorporating traditional and introduced skills, goods, and materials into our way of life. In the late 1800s, the Klondike Gold Rush brought significant changes, with thousands of people flocking to the region. Chief Isaac, a respected Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in leader, foresaw the impact on our Hän traditional culture and entrusted songs and dances to Alaskan First Nations people.

In the years following the gold rush, the Hän people worked to strike a balance between our traditional lifestyle and the ways of the newcomers. The Land Claims process initiated in the 1970s eventually led to the signing of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement in 1998, granting self-governance and protecting our land rights.

To preserve our heritage and ensure a strong future, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in invest in promoting our Hän language, learning traditional skills from Elders, and engaging youth. Initiatives like the Moosehide Gatherings, Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, Tr’ochëk National Historic site, and the return of our entrusted songs demonstrate our commitment to cultural preservation and pride in our ancestry.