Government of YT: Restored totem pole unveiled as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations

In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Government of Yukon hosted a ceremony to unveil the restored BC Centennial Totem Pole. The proceedings featured a prayer, songs, and dancers, as well as remarks by First Nations dignitaries, and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jeanie Dendys.

The event also included a ceremony by members of the late carver’s family to bestow the totem pole with a traditional Tsimshian name. The name GAWAGANI PTS’AAN means “Peace Totem Pole,” and was chosen by the family to honour the essence of the original gift from government to government, as well as the spirit of reconciliation that runs through National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The BC Centennial Totem Pole, carved by hereditary Tsimshian Chief William Jeffrey, was gifted to Yukon in 1971 by the Government of British Columbia on the occasion of that province’s 100th anniversary of joining Confederation. The pole stood for 45 years before being lowered for restoration.

With the permission and consultation of Chief William Jeffrey’s family, the totem pole was restored and relocated to preserve its cultural significance and honour the skill of the artist as well as the art form.

The BC Centennial Totem Pole is a legacy piece that reflects the strong relationship between Yukon and British Columbia. The restoration and unveiling is the result of meaningful and successful collaboration between community members, artisans and knowledge keepers from multiple First Nations. I am honoured to be celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with the unveiling of such a beautiful piece of First Nations art.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Jeanie Dendys

With this restoration project we have created relationships through collaboration and learning across multiple First Nation communities in BC and Yukon. Working together, we built upon my grandfather’s legacy and my mother’s lessons to ensure strength for our future generations.

Monica Jeffrey, granddaughter of Tsimishian carver Chief William Jeffrey

Quick Facts
  • The Government of British Columbia commissioned and presented totem poles to each of the provinces and territories, as well as the federal government and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Many of these have been or are in the process of being restored.
  • The BC Centennial Totem Pole was located on the west side of the Government of Yukon Main Administration building before being restored and raised in its new location beside the north entrance on 2nd Avenue and Hanson Street.
  • Yukon’s BC Centennial Totem Pole was carved by hereditary Tsimshian Chief William Jeffrey (1898 – 1995). Mr. Jeffrey’s daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter were involved in the restoration project.
  • Carcross/Tagish First Nation carvers Keith Wolfe Smarch and Aaron Smarch assisted with the restoration.
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21st, celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

BC Centennial Totem Restoration Project

Carved by hereditary Tsimshian Chief William Jeffrey (1898 – 1995) on behalf of the Government of British Columbia, the BC Centennial Totem Pole was gifted to Yukon in 1971 on the occasion of British Columbia’s 100th year since joining Confederation.

The British Columbia Government presented totem poles to each of the provinces and territories, as well as the federal government, to mark this event. In July of 1971, the totem was received in Whitehorse and a ceremony was held on July 28,1971 for its installation and presentation.

The four figures on the totem pole – Eagle, Wolf, Raven and Grizzly Bear – represent the principal crests of four Tsimshian clans.

Recognizing the importance of the territory’s cultural heritage, and of coming together to learn and adapt methods to care for and respect these items, a restoration project was undertaken to revive and preserve the totem after it had stood in place for 45 years.

Restoration Project

Between 1971 and 2016, the totem pole stood outside the Government of Yukon Main Administration Building along Second Avenue and was cared for as part of the Yukon government’s collection of public art.

Traditionally, totem poles have been left to deteriorate naturally over time but contemporary First Nation and art preservation practices now support restoration to retain their cultural significance and honour the skill of the artists and the art form.

In July of 2016, with the permission of Chief William Jeffrey’s family, a restoration project was undertaken, beginning with a small lowering ceremony involving local First Nation advisors.

The Department of Tourism and Culture’s Arts Section worked with Andrew Todd, the leading totem pole conservator in Canada, to restore the totem. Keith Wolfe Smarch and Aaron Smarch (lead and assistant carvers with the Carcross/Tagish First Nation carving program) assisted with the restoration, which included surface cleaning, applying new paint and a protective coating, and repairing damaged areas.

The Government of Yukon worked with a planning committee made up of members of the Jeffrey family, the restoration team, and Yukon First Nation advisors to ensure traditional knowledge, protocols and the wishes of the family were respected and incorporated throughout the project.

Upon its reinstallation and unveiling, the totem will be routinely examined and maintained by Arts Section staff and conservators as appropriate.


Sunny Patch
Cabinet Communications

Alicia Debreceni
Communications, Tourism and Culture


Government of Canada invests in Inuit leadership through the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program

Canada is supporting Inuit guardian leadership in Inuit Nunangat by investing in the Inuit Guardians program, a model of conservation in which Indigenous Peoples lead in the planning, stewardship, and management of their traditional lands, waters, and ice.

Canada is supporting six Inuit-led projects under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program through an investment of $4.7 million over three years to support ongoing work to protect and conserve the Inuit homeland.

A committee, composed of representatives from the four Inuit regions and co-chaired by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Environment and Climate Change Canada, identified Inuit priorities and projects:

  • Munaqsi Community-Based Monitoring, which will use local and traditional knowledge to monitor environmental disturbances and safety hazards in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region;
  • Nunavik Guardians, which will expand the monitoring and data collection on wildlife in Nunavik Inuit communities;
  • Hebron Ambassador and Nain Conservation Officer, which will support community and visitor engagement in conservation in Nunatsiavut;
  • Kugluktuk Angoniatit Monitoring and Management of Fish Resources in Nunavut;
  • Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board for Community Monitoring of Caribou in Nunavut; and
  • Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program, which will support developing young hunters and trappers as respectful harvesters in Nunavut.

Supporting Indigenous leadership in conservation is a central part of Canada’s work to double the amount of nature protected in Canada’s lands and oceans. Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to work closely with Inuit groups to renew Inuit–Crown relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, and cooperation.


“Canada is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program is designed to give these Inuit groups the support they need to be the best possible stewards of their homelands. I am excited to see these projects move forward and help us all create a better future for our kids and grandkids.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“We know that the health of Inuit Nunangat is inextricably linked to the health of Inuit. Protecting Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland, is an intrinsic part of the Inuit way of life, and this pilot program will facilitate ongoing and new efforts to ensure our environment is safe and healthy for future generations.”

– Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Quick facts

  • In Budget 2017, the Government committed $25 million to the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program.
  • In Budget 2018, the Government invested a historic $1.35 billion in protecting Canada’s nature, including the establishment of new protected and conserved areas as well as new Indigenous protected and conserved areas.
  • The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program supports Indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between the Canadian landscape and Indigenous cultures.
  • In Budget 2019, the Government has invested $700 million over the next 10 years for Canada’s North, including investments in post-secondary education in the North, new infrastructure, and arctic research.

Associated links


Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)


Inuvik Satellite Station Antenna Art Highlights Indigenous Life and Culture

June 21, 2019          Inuvik, Northwest Territories               Natural Resources Canada

Public art projects help convey important messages about the history, culture and diversity of a region.

Today, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) unveiled its Antenna as Canvas project in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, which visually celebrates the vibrant cultures of the peoples of the Beaufort Delta area.

All five satellite receivers located at NRCan’s Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) are now decorated with artwork created by local Indigenous artists. Three of the receiver art installations were completed in August 2018, and with the successful installation of the final two pieces this June, we are celebrating the completion of the Antenna as Canvas project on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Ronnie Simon, Sheree McLeod, Ron English, Anick Jenks and the East Three Secondary School Art Club are the creative artists behind this project, and were selected by their respective organizations and project partners: the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Inuvik Métis Council and the Town of Inuvik.

The Antenna as Canvas project can be seen by people across the globe. In addition to NRCan’s antenna, the ISSF hosts antennas from the German Space Agency (DLR), the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), the French Space Agency (CNES) and Canada’s C-CORE, making this a remarkable international collaboration that honours and promotes learning about Inuvik peoples’ cultures, languages and contributions to Canada’s history abroad.

In Canada, the artwork provides a vibrant Indigenous and northern visual presence at a Government of Canada facility that is visible from the Dempster Highway, the road into Inuvik, as well as from both runways as airplanes enter the Inuvik Airport.

The striking images on the antennas promote Inuvik as a global destination for Earth observation, business and tourism.

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“The Government of Canada is proud to be part of this beautiful initiative that celebrates Canada’s diversity and inspires Canadians to honour and explore their communities and their country while learning about earth observation.”

Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources


Four officers, no weapons, no charges: A Yukon First Nation’s solution for keeping the peace – Globe and Mail

On a marble tabletop in Kwanlin Dun’s community safety office, Tyler O’Brien is chopping up roadkill deer. Dressed in all black and wearing a Kevlar vest with his wolf clan crest on the front, Mr. O’Brien, 20, is one of four community safety officers tasked with watching over members of this urban First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon. But this isn’t your usual police force.

Sometimes, the officers are breaking up fist fights and intervening in domestic assaults, and other times, they’re stoking elders’ wood stoves and doling out chunks of fresh deer meat – a shared delicacy that brings residents together. Their work is part of a one-of-a-kind program that could become a model for other First Nations across the country because of how its transforming policing in Indigenous communities.

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Feeling loved at home: Yukon veteran honoured with Quilt of Valour – CBC

Doug Tizya, a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, did 2 tours in Afghanistan

Jun 24, 2019

Retired Canadian Forces Cpl. Doug Tizya describes the suffering experienced by soldiers fighting the war in Afghanistan as “biblical.”

Tizya, a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, did two tours in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

On Friday, during Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Whitehorse, Tizya’s service was recognized with a Quilt of Valour.

Read More:

ITK puts out call for midwifery assessment – Nunatsiaq News

24 June, 2019

Report should contain “regional-specific and national level recommendations”

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami plans to step into a health domain that is usually overseen by territorial and provincial governments: midwifery.

An ITK request for proposals, which closed on June 20, is looking for a midwifery status assessment that will focus on assessing the “status, strengths and barriers of midwifery practices” in the four Inuit Nunangat regions.

ITK said its assessment should produce an executive summary report and a full report outlining the status of midwifery in each of the regions.

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Pond Inlet Justice Committee seeking members

20 June 2019

Do you have knowledge and experience in dealing with social issues, restorative justice and Inuit societal values? Are you interested in helping victims and offenders? The Pond Inlet Justice Committee is looking for members in the community.

Justice committees in Nunavut use a community-based justice approach to assist victims of crime and work with people who have caused harm by committing an offence.
Committee members are volunteers and receive honoraria for attending meetings. Training is provided.

If you are interested, please submit your resume and criminal record check to Margaret King, Pond Inlet’s Community Justice Specialist, at . For more information, call 867-899-7370.
Deadline for submission is July 5, 2019.


Media Contact:

Matilda Madekufamba
Policy and Communications Analyst
Department of Justice

ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᔪᑦ ᑐᓴᒐᒃᓴᙳᖅᑎᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᐱᔭᐅᔪᓐᓇᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᖓᓗᑎᒃ, ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑎᑐᑦ, ᐃᓄᐃᓐᓇᖅᑐᓐ ᐅᐃᕖᑎᑐᓪᓗ ᐅᕙᓂ,
News releases are available in Inuktitut, English, Inuinnaqtun and French on
Tuhaqtaghat ittut Inuktitut, Qablunaatitut, Inuinnaqtun Uiviititullu talvani
Les communiqués de presse sont disponibles en inuktitut, en anglais, en inuinnaqtun et en français au


MMIWG: Moving Forward Together to Reclaim Power and Place

June 21, 2019

On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are at a critical moment in Canada’s history. On June 3, 2019, we released a comprehensive report, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, that documents the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers, shared over two years of cross-country hearings and evidence gathering.

The heart and voice of this report belongs to families and survivors, who ache for their lost sisters, aunts, daughters, mothers and grandmothers. This heartache now belongs to all of us. We are all accountable, and we must turn that into real and tangible actions. We are often asked, what can we do? How can we get started on such a monumental task? These are good questions. There are things we can do immediately, both big and small, as a country, as community members, and as individuals.

The federal government has accepted our Call for Justice to create a National Action Plan with Indigenous people at the table to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. That work can begin immediately. We also call on all provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments to develop action plans in their jurisdictions, and some have already started to do so. As voters, we can make sure elected leaders know what is important to us and what we expect of them.

Families and survivors want clear answers about what happened to their loved ones. We need an independent, national Police Task Force established that is able to re-open investigations and delve deeper into the cases of missing and murdered women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This work could also start immediately.

Our Final Report also includes Calls for Justice for the media and social influencers, health and wellness service providers, police services, lawyers and law societies, educators, social workers, those involved in child welfare, and for extractive and development industries and for Correctional Service Canada.

As individuals, we need to decolonize ourselves by learning the true history of Canada. June is National Indigenous History Month, and we call on all institutions and educators to understand and teach the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and explore the root causes of violence. In addition to the Final Report and resources noted within it, the National Inquiry developed Their Voices Will Guide Us in collaboration with Indigenous educators. A guide for students of all ages, it provides key resources around the issue of violence against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. We invite everyone to access this free resource at

Each of us needs to stand up and become a strong ally. We must confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, wherever and whenever we witness it, and teach or encourage others to do the same, in our workplace, in social settings, and everywhere else. Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect.

This National Indigenous Peoples Day, let’s resolve to create a new future together. Restoring safety for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people is an urgent responsibility for us all. Let’s get to it.

Marion Buller
Chief Commissioner

Michèle Audette

Brian Eyolfson

Qajaq Robinson


Inuvik’s Kyra McDonald hits the ice for APTN reality show – CBC

McDonald is one of the best hockey players in the North, now Canada can watch her play

Jun 23, 2019

Most hockey fans in the North already know Kyra McDonald is one of the best in the Northwest Territories.

She led the way for Team North at this year’s National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, scoring the team’s first goal of the tournament, seven goals during a day of action, and she was named the top women’s forward of the tournament.

Now, her talents are being showcased across Canada and the United States as she stars in Hit the Ice, a reality TV show broadcast on APTN. Indigenous players from around the country gather to play on an all-star team. The show tracks them from training camp, right through the season.

Read More:

Legislation advancing responsible co-management of natural resources in North receives Royal Assent

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Bill C-88 cancels merger of land and water boards in the Northwest Territories, moves towards responsible co-management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources and certainty for industry.

June 22, 2019 — Ottawa, ON — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is taking action to respect the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples, protect Canada’s rich natural environment, and support a resilient and sustainable Canadian natural resource sector.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced the passage into law of Bill C-88, An Act to Amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, on June 21, 2019.

Bill C-88 amends two main pieces of legislation: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. The amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act address concerns raised by Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories over the land and water board amalgamation provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act and the related injunction from the the Northwest Territories Supreme Court in March 2015. The bill confirms the continuation of the Sahtu, Gwich’in and Wek’èezhìi boards with the jurisdiction to regulate the use of land and water and deposit of waste in their regions.

Bill C-88 also amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to prohibit oil and gas activities, when in the national interest, and to freeze the terms of existing licenses to prevent them from expiring while the moratorium on the issuance of new Arctic offshore oil and gas licences is in place. These changes are necessary to allow the Government to establish a path forward for the strategic management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources in collaboration with partners.


“Our consultations with territorial and Indigenous governments, as well as with oil and gas industry, have helped guide our path forward. Bill C-88 acknowledges the rights of Indigenous peoples while increasing certainty to industry. It will foster a more efficient and predictable management system of natural resources, strengthened by the meaningful participation of Indigenous people, while paving the way for economic prosperity and a healthier environment in the North for generations to come.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Bill C-88 came into force on June 21, 2019.
  • The land and water board amalgamation provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act had been suspended by an injunction of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court in March 2015, at the request of Northwest Territories Indigenous governments.

Related products

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada


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