With generosity, diligence and deep commitment to their community, Elders from Lhù’ààn Mân Keyi (Kluane First Nation) recorded oral histories about their lives in the southwest Yukon. They shared wisdom, stories and songs passed down from grandparents, aunties and uncles, in Dań kʼe (Southern Tutchone, Kluane dialect) and English. This years-long project arose from the Elders’ desire for their children and future generations to know the foundations of language, culture, skills and beliefs that will keep them proud, healthy and strong. The Elders speak of life before the Alaska Highway, when their grandparents drew on thousands of years of traditional knowledge to live on the land through seasonal rounds of hunting and gathering; the dark years after the building of the Alaska Highway, when children were taken away to residential schools and hunting grounds were removed to form the Kluane Game Preserve and National Park; and the decades since, when the community worked through the Yukon land claims process to establish today’s self-governing First Nation.
Inclusivity is a key community value. The Elders’ stories are accompanied by the voices of youth and citizens of all ages, along with a history of the Kluane region. The book is beautifully illustrated with Elders’ photographs, historical images and art work, and photos showing breathtaking views of Kluane mountains, lakes, sites, trails, and activities in the community today. With passionate and deeply informed voices, this is a stirring portrait created by a community that has shown resilience through massive changes and remains dedicated to preserving their culture, language and lands for the generations to come.