First Nations Interpretive Program Now Offered at Fishladder

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Jul 16, 2004  Comment

(Whitehorse) - Visitors to one of the Yukon’s most popular tourist attractions now have an opportunity to learn more about the traditional First Nations’ use of the Yukon River in the area of the Whitehorse Rapids Generating Facilities.

An interpretive wall tent has been set up at the Whitehorse Fishway and local elders will be on hand two afternoons a week to share their memories and knowledge. The tent is called Kwädąy K’è Gyü Kù, which means ‘Long Ago Day King Salmon Tent’ in Southern Tutchone.

“We felt this was an important piece of the Yukon River story that needed to be told,” said Joan Viksten, who was hired by Yukon Energy to develop the interpretive program. “It will give people a sense of what the river was like and how it was used prior to the building of the Whitehorse dam in 1959.”

An 1898 map of the Yukon River shows traditional fishing spots. There are also replicas of some of the fishing tools used by First Nations people.

While the focus is on past uses of the river, part of the display also looks at current practices for managing fish species. This includes information about Yukon Energy’s fish hatchery, which is located a short distance downstream from the fishladder. 

The interpretive tent will be open to the public during the regular operating hours of the fishway. The elders’ talks will take place on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 2 to 3 o’clock, starting this Monday, July 19.

The fishladder was built following the construction of the Whitehorse dam to allow migrating Chinook salmon and other species to pass by the structure.

The facility is open to the public from June 1 till the Labour Day long weekend.  It’s one of the principal tourism attractions in Yukon, drawing approximately 30,000 visitors annually. In 2002, the fishway was given two awards from Attractions Canada, a national program recognizing excellence in tourism.  



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