History

The White River First Nation (WRFN) is a First Nation in the western Yukon Territory in Canada. Its main population centre is Beaver Creek, Yukon. The language originally spoken by the contemporary membership of the White River First Nation were the Athabaskan languages of Upper Tanana, whose traditional territory extends from the Slims River into neighbouring Alaska, and Northern Tutchone, whose traditional territories included the lower Stewart River and the area south of the Yukon River on the White and Donjek River drainages. Closely related through traditional marriages between various local bands, these two language groups were merged by the Canadian government into a single White River Indian Band in the early 1950s for administrative convenience. In 1961 the White River Band was amalgamated by the Canadian government with the Southern Tutchone speaking members of the Burwash Band at Burwash on Kluane Lake as the Kluane Band (subsequently the Kluane Tribal Brotherhood and then the Kluane Tribal Council). In 1990, the Kluane Tribal Council split its membership into the Kluane First Nation, centered in Burwash, and the White River First Nation, centered in Beaver Creek. The White River First Nation participated in negotiations for a land claims agreement and had reached a memorandum of understanding on most issues, but the parties were not able to reach a final agreement to put forward to ratification by WRFN citizens. The Federal Government mandate to negotiate land claims in the Yukon expired on March 31, 2005 and on April 1 the Federal Government announced that discussions with the WRFN “will no longer involve the possibility of concluding land claim and self-government agreements” and will instead focus “on how best to advance the interest of White River under the provisions of the Indian Act.”

Advertisements