:inguistically, the Kwanlin Dün are affiliated with the Southern Tutchone Tribal Council. The Kwanlin Dün include people of Southern Tutchone, Tagish and Tlingit descent. A large number of Kwanlin Dün citizens live in the Whitehorse area, with the balance dispersed throughout Canada, the U.S. (predominantly Alaska) and abroad.
The waterway now called Miles Canyon through to the Whitehorse Rapids was well known to generations of First Nations people. Our ancestors called the area Kwanlin, which means “running water through canyon” in Southern Tutchone. Not only was this section of the river an excellent area for fishing, but well worn trails on the banks of the canyon tell of centuries of people travelling overland in search of game.
Stone tools tell of our ancestors were here just after the last ice age, harvesting salmon and hunting caribou and buffalo. The banks of the river were lined with fish camps, lookout points, hunting grounds, burial sites and meeting places. Our values, language and traditions are rooted in this land. Recent digs at Annie Lake and Fish Lake, both within minutes of downtown Whitehorse, confirm the existence and continual use of season hunting and fishing camps for more than 5,000 years.
n 1900, at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, Chief Jim Boss (Kishxóot) of the Ta’an Kwäch’än recognized that his people needed protection for their land and hunting grounds in the wake of a growing non-Aboriginal population. Chief Boss petitioned the Commissioner of the Yukon, William Ogilvie, for a 1,600 acre reserve at Ta’an Män, which he had already surveyed. Instead, a reserve of only 320 acres was granted. For the next 70 years, the federal government ignored further pleas from Yukon First Nations.
In 1988, after many years of being displaced, Kwanlin Dün First Nation moved to its present site west of the Alaska Highway, on land intended for a subdivision adjacent to a pipeline that was never constructed.