PELLY CROSSING – A new program at Yukon College’s Pelly Crossing campus starts with a unique assignment – students will build a raft and use it to travel from Fort Selkirk to Minto Landing.
It’s part of the programming at the Huchá Hudän Field School. The month-long pilot Essential Skills project is a collaboration between the College and Selkirk First Nation.
The land-based program blends traditional and cultural skills with critical discourse, workplace readiness certificates, and additional training.
Students will spend their days working with Elders and instructors to learn Northern Tutchone, make and use fish traps, prepare camps, and discuss topics including decolonization, Indigenous governance, and self-determination. Modules include a moose hunt, wilderness first aid and GPS and traditional navigation.
“The idea behind land-based programming is that students become empowered through meaningfully connecting to cultural and traditional skills and this empowerment then translates into academic and employment success,” said John Reid, Department Head for Northern Region at Yukon College.
Graduates will gain the skills to apply for jobs in moose monitoring and salmon enhancement, as language and culture coordinators with the Selkirk First Nation Heritage Department or continue their education.
The class runs from June 12 to July 7. There are seven students enrolled in the program from Carmacks, Ross River and Pelly Crossing.