A warm Gunalchéesh, Shä̀w níthän, Mahsi Cho, Sógá sénlá to all the guides we have had throughout this journey: the places, people, and unseen forces who have given direction and helped bring this Reconnection Vision into being.
We are here with strength, determination and love, because of our Ancestors who have stewarded these Lands and Waters, and nourished our communities in a good way since time immemorial. We give great thanks to our Yukon First Nations leaders who fought and continue to tirelessly assert their self-determination, both within the Together Today process and outside of it. We do this work for you and for our children, grandchildren, and all the generations to come. You were with us and empowered us throughout this journey, bringing us songs, dreams, language, and powerful visions for tomorrow.
We lift our hands up to Yukon First Nations Chiefs for signing a climate emergency declaration, for passing the Resolution to endorse the Reconnection Vision, and entrusting us as young people to develop the Yukon First Nations approach to climate action.
We offer our gratitude to the organisations who brought this Fellowship into being: Regional Chief Kluane Adamek and the Assembly of First Nations Yukon Region and Grand Chief Peter Johnston and the Council of Yukon First Nations. These regional organisations worked tirelessly to coordinate Yukon First Nations Leadership and to administer this project. Without them, this project never would have happened. We also thank Yukon University, RIVER and Youth Climate Lab, who provided support in multifaceted ways throughout this project with resources, networks, and thought leadership. We are grateful to Yukon Government’s Office of the Science Advisor and the Two-eyed Seeing program for their support through YukonU. We also acknowledge Pinna Sustainability for providing us with support in engagement.
We pay tribute to our Guiding Elders for this project: Mark Wedge, Norma Kassi, Joe Copper Jack and Shirley Adamson, whose vision and transmission of our Ancestors’ teachings has given us strength and confidence to move forward with Reconnection in a good way.
Shirley Adamson continues to guide us from the Spirit world. We will share your story and pass your teachings into the future.
We offer gratitude to the following speakers who shared teachings with us over virtual campfires throughout this Fellowship. These sessions provided us with the foundation and inspiration for our approach to Reconnection:
Carcross Tagish Elder Mark Wedge – Ceremony, Relationships & Journeying Towards Walking as Whole People
Champagne & Aishihik Elder Mary Jane Jim – A first-hand journey of how Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow came to be
Cherokee Elder Dr. Lee Brown – Emotional Competency, the history of suppression of emotions through colonization
Cosmographer Dr. David McConville – Illuminating Worldviews, a brief history of the Western colonial cosmovision
RIVER Reconnection Symposium - An international gathering of speakers discussing regenerative initiatives underway in the areas of climate, law and economy across Turtle Island, Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia
Māori lawyer Erin Matariki Carr - Approaching colonial law from a Māori worldview, how the Tūhoe people acquired legal personhood for their ancestral rainforest, Te Urewera
Diné and Cheyenne artist, scholar and community organizer Lyla June Johnston - Art as Activism
Youth Climate Lab’s Design & Community Manager Shalaka Jadhav - Exploring the question “What is policy?”
Strategy Implementation Manager of the Yukon Government’s Climate Change Secretariat, Aletta Leitch - Sharing the Yukon Government’s Climate Plan: Our Clean Future
Eriel Deranger and Rebecca Sinclair of Indigenous Climate Action - Decolonising Climate Policy in Canada
Counsellor Sherene St Cyr - The importance of self-care and centering wellness
Senior Policy Advisor of the Assembly of First Nations National Office, Graeme Reed - First Nations Climate Strategy on a national and international level in Canada.
Tahltan leadership coach Maureen Johnstone - Nourishing our leadership journeys through honouring our strengths
Ta'an Kwäch’än Elder Joe Copper Jack - Storytelling, and the story of Taicho and the Grizzly Bear
Regional Chief Kluane Adamek - Leadership Our Way: Reflections of where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we’re going in the landscape of leadership in the Yukon
Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm - The origin of the call for a Yukon First Nations Climate Vision and Action Plan; VGFN’s Climate Emergency Declaration
Kaska Land Steward Gillian Staveley - Indigenous-led conservation and the Kaska Dena’s Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) Plans for Dena Kayeh
Secwepemc and Nuxalk Community Organiser Nuskmata Jacinda Mack - Reimagining Extraction: First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining
AFN Yukon Climate Policy Director Jenni Matchett - Form Transition: Decarbonization Beyond Settler Modernity
CYFN Climate Analyst Merran Smith and CYFN Energy and Sustainability Analyst Neil Hawkes - Overview of existent Yukon First Nations Climate Action and Energy Projects
House of Wolf Community Safety Officer Program Coordinator Gina Nagano - Community Safety and Wellness
We also wish to recognise Caroline Hayes for her teaching of YukonU’s Communicating in Conflict course with us, as well as Nataschaa Chatterton for guiding us through training in Trauma-informed Facilitation in association with the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute.
Shäw Nithän to artists Darcy Tara McDiarmid and Shirley Adamson for grounding our first in-person gathering in art and storytelling, to Adanchilla Pauls and Norma Kassi for workshopping the Youth climate action landscape with us, to Mark Wedge for ensuring that ceremony remained central to our gathering, to Atsushi Sugimoto for capturing it all on camera, and to the good team at Inn on the Lake for providing such a comfortable venue for our first time meeting together.
Reflecting on our second gathering together in May 2021, we extend our gratitude to Dave Joe for sharing his experiences on the path to Together Today with us, to Brandon Kyikavichik for his mentorship, and to Joe Copper Jack for sharing his Share Care Respect and ‘No Voice’ model with us.
Gunalchéesh tlein to fellow Shauna and her Taku River Tlingit First Nation for hosting us so generously at 5 Mile Point for our first on-the-Land gathering. We give our appreciation to current Spokesperson Charmaine Thom for warmly welcoming and accommodating our group, to then-Spokesperson John Ward for sharing his own Reconnection journey with us. Thank you to Caitlin Oshea and Kayla Carlick for nourishing us with good food, to Uncle Bryan Jack for his storytelling around the campfire, to Aunty Susan Carlick for teaching us to fillet salmon, to Jared Kane, the Taku Land Guardians team Hannes Schraft, Joseph Netro, and Trevor Williams for taking us out on Big Atlin Lake, to Sherene St-Cyr for supporting us with ceremony, and to Regional Chief Kluane Adamek for joining us throughout the gathering.
Mahsi Cho to fellow Jen and her Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation for warmly hosting us at Nänkäk Chèholay Land of Plenty for our Fall Reconnection Space. We extend our gratitude to Chief Robert Joseph, Georgette McLeod and the Hän Singers for their warm welcome and for meaningful discussions around the campfire with us. We recognize Glenda and the team at Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre for making our presentation there special. We warmly thank Elders Angie Joseph Rear, Victor Henry and Roger Ellis for the weekend sharing teachings with us. A big Mahsi to Fran Morberg-Green for sharing her knowledge of plants, their healing qualities and her own reconnection journey, to Herman Taylor and Gina Mierau for feeding us so well at Land of Plenty, to Steve Titus for his amazing bannock, to Doronn Fox for guidance through uncertainty and lessons shared making drums with us, and to Fellowship friends Darcy and Rainey McDiarmid, Jagger Jamieson, Shyenne Kinney, Alistair Maitland and Jamie-Lee Roberts for sharing this special gathering with us.
We extend our thanks to Nansi Cunningham for making Vista such a cozy space for us to write our visions together in Ta'an Kwäch'än territory, to Heather and Andrew Finton at Sundog Retreat for making our Spring gathering at Sundog a healing space, to Candace Dow for teaching us Indigenized yoga, to Tosh Southwick for inspiring and believing in us, to Kelly Proudfoot for her enthusiastic support with communications and to Chantai Minet for her deep-hearted counselling support.
Shäw Nithän and gunałchish to Katie Johnson and the organizing team at Adäka in creating a beautiful atmosphere to present, and to Grand Chief Peter Johnston and his team at CYFN for all the work put into the CYFN General Assembly at Minto Landing.
Sógá sénlá to Fellow Robby, his partner Robyn Dzéh Láondíh McLeod for hosting us at their cabin with their community on Jackfish Lake in Kaska Dena Territory.
Mahsi Cho to Fellow Ryan and his Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation for warmly hosting us at Gwitchin Gathering. We thank then-Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, Council, Loretta Itsa, all the cooks, and all the music players who made this gathering so good for us.
Mahsi to the Canadian Permafrost Association, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Government, Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun for hosting us so well at the North Yukon Permafrost Conference. We warmly acknowledge all of the Elders, Knowledge holders, open-minded scientists and practitioners we met and shared meaningful discussions with during this conference.
We wish to thank our funders, the Government of Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund, Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program and the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program. We also offer our gratitude to the Climate Justice and Resilience Fund for a grant received for this project through Youth Climate Lab that funded some of this project’s earlier work, to Makeway Foundation for funding the majority of this project’s films. We are grateful to Yukon Government’s Office of the Science Advisor and the Two-eyed Seeing program for their support through YukonU. We are grateful to the YukonU and the Mastercard Foundation’s EleV program for their ongoing support of our First Nations youth.
We are ever-grateful for Tracey Wallace and team at the Northern Council for Global Cooperation for supporting this project so much throughout its duration, including through funding for our film and through sending two Fellows to United Nations Climate Conferences in Glasgow, Scotland and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. We also wish to recognise CPAWS Yukon for supporting two of our Fellows to attend a UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties in Montreal.
We offer our appreciation to Steve Roddick for his support in working with our communities and the following people who joined us in Engagement sessions throughout the Fall of 2022:
We also thank Terry Rufiange-Holway, Katie Johnson, Alexis Andersen, and Katie Fraser, who were interviewed by Fellow Jen Mierau as part of Engagement.
We warmly recognise our dedicated design trio for their collaboration: Amy Ball, for graphic and print design, Carson Linforth Bowley, for our digital storytelling website, and Fellow Jared Dulac for leading on visuals.
We want to thank Jared Dulac and Robby Dick for sharing their photography and video footage with us, which make up a significant portion of the imagery. Additional photographs have been shared with us by Carson Linforth Bowley, as well as all members of the steering committee.
We extend deep gratitude to Adrienne Maree-Brown for the work she does in alignment with the Reconnection Philosophy and specifically for her Emergent Strategy text. The ideas in this text were foundational to our process and helped frame our earliest writing in this project.