Yukon College Home News Archives Haines Junction village council is first Yukon municipality to complete YFN 101 program

Haines Junction village council is first Yukon municipality to complete YFN 101 program

September 30, 2016

(l-r) Coun. Bruce Sundbo, Coun. Evelyn Koh, Kari Johnston, Mayor Michael Riseborough, Coun. Susan Smith and Coun. Tom Eckervogt

HAINES JUNCTION—The Mayor and Council of the village of Haines Junction have become the first municipality in Yukon to complete the Yukon First Nations 101 program.

Earlier this month, village resident Kari Johnston challenged the council to meet number 57 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. They could do this by completing the six-hour online program by September 30, which is recognized as Orange Shirt Day—an annual residential school commemoration event.

At the council meeting this week, on Wednesday September 28th, Mayor Michael Riseborough announced that he and all four Councillors had done so. All five of them sported an orange shirt to mark the occasion.

“I thought I was pretty well-informed around this topic, but I came away from the program amazed at how much I did not know,” said Mayor Riseborough.

Riseborough added that while Reconciliation and the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action have been discussed at municipal meetings at the national and territorial level, Johnston’s challenge was the catalyst for the village council to look more closely at what could be done to support the TRC recommendations.

“I am always bringing local plans forward—recreational plans, event plans and so on—yet the TRC Calls to Action is the most important plan we have right now in Canada. It is important to encourage our governments to implement it,” said Johnston.

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the 2013 St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, BC, Canada.  It grew from a survivor's story of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an annual, national opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools alive.

Created by the Council for Yukon First Nations and Yukon College, YFN 101 builds on the Yukon First Nations core competency that all Yukon College credit students are required to undertake, and which 94 per cent of Yukon College employees have completed. The program provides a broad understanding of six key aspects of Yukon First Nations: history; heritage and culture; governance; residential schools; contemporary topics; and world views.

The course is available to any Yukon business, non-government organisation or individual at a cost of $89.99 per person. For more information about accessing the course please contact the Yukon College’s Northern Institute of Social Justice at nisj@yukoncollege.yk.ca or (867) 456-8590.