An updated management plan that protects Yukon’s historic Huchá Hudän/Fort Selkirk site has been signed.
Selkirk First Nation members, Yukon First Nation leaders and Yukon government representatives gathered for a ceremony Friday to sign the third edition of the plan.
It ensures the protection, conservation and interpretation of the heritage values of Fort Selkirk. It also recognizes and protects the traditional and contemporary use of the area by Selkirk First Nation citizens and other Yukon residents.
“Fort Selkirk is a very special place for our people,” said Selkirk First Nation Deputy Chief Morris Morrison, following an opening prayer that was spoken in English and Northern Tutchone by Lizzie Hall, one of the community’s elders.
Morrison said signing the updated management plan ensures the space around the site will not be available for mining or exploration.
“We want to preserve this sacred area and the important grandfather trails,” he said.
“Our ancestors as well as other First Nations and non-Indigenous people in the Yukon called it home. This is why a management plan is key for conservation.”
Minister of Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai called the signing an important milestone for the territory.
“The updated plan will inform the ongoing care in management of one of the Yukon’s most significant historic sites. Huchá Hudän/Fort Selkirk is a much loved example of Yukon’s built heritage.”
A hub for meeting and trading
Fort Selkirk is the largest of four historic sites in the Yukon.
It has been used as a gathering place for trading, game harvesting, pot latches, and cultural activities for many generations.
A permanent community began in the area in the early 1890s with the establishment of a trading post and the Anglican Church mission, according to the plan. The community consisted of cabins, camps and outbuildings as well as public structures like churches, stores and a school.
Fort Selkirk was also used as a base for the Yukon Field Force from 1898 to 1900, and the North-West Mounted Police established a post there in 1898.
The Fort Selkirk Historic Site Management Plan had last been updated in 2000. The first edition of the plan was released ten years earlier.
Selkirk First Nation the Yukon government have been working together and funding the historic site’s maintenance and preservation since 1982.