Language Revitalization Group

Our History, Our Languages and Our Speakers: The ancestral home of the White River First Nation covers lands on both sides of the Yukon/Alaska border. Large villages were once located at Snag and Scottie Creek and extended family groups traveled on seasonal rounds throughout the region. Only two to three generations ago it was common to speak several languages, including Northern Tutchone – Snag Dialect and Upper Tanana – Scottie Creek Dialect. Several external events have caused major disruption to the language and cultural continuity of White River people. The creation of the Yukon Alaska border in 1913 divided many families when they were required to choose American or Canadian affiliation. With the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942, families were relocated from Snag and Scottie Creek to the new highway settlement of Beaver Creek. Families were further impacted when their children were sent to residential schools in Carcross and Lower Post and punished for speaking their language. In the early 1950s the Department of Indian Affairs merged the Northern Tutchone of Snag area and the Upper Tanana of Scottie Creek area to form the White River Indian Band. Then in 1961 the Band was amalgamated with the Southern Tutchone of the Burwash Band (Kluane Tribal Council) at Burwash Landing, Yukon. Both actions were for the administrative
convenience of the Department of Indian Affairs. In 1990 the White River First Nation re-established itself as a separate nation centered in Beaver Creek.
These specific events plus the impact of mass culture have reduced the number of Northern Tutchone ā€“ Snag Dialect and Upper Tanana ā€“ Scottie Creek Dialect speakers of the White River First Nations, to just a few.



Upper Tanana

Northern Tutchone


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