Champagne-Aishihik First Nations

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations

The homeland of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN), located in the Southwest Yukon and Northwest British Columbia, is a land of great natural beauty and biological richness. It is a land of steep mountains, surging glaciers, fast flowing rivers, rolling tundra plateaux and forested river valleys.

CAFN was named after two of its historic settlements: Champagne, located on the Dezadeash River; and Aishihik, situated at the headwaters of the Alsek River drainage. Formerly, the Southern Tutchone population was located throughout the region in other villages including Kloo Lake, Klukshu, Canyon, Shäwshe and Hutshi.

Today, the main administrative center is located in Haines Junction. CAFN also maintains a busy office in the territorial capital of Whitehorse.

Of the Yukon’s fourteen First Nations, CAFN has a membership of 1,129, one of the largest in Yukon. Its traditional territory covers 41,000 square kilometers, 29,000 of which are located in the Yukon and 12,000 in British Columbia. The easterly portion of CAFN’s traditional territory lies in the Yukon River watershed where the Yukon River flows into the Bering Sea, while the larger, westerly portion lies in the Alsek River watershed where the Alsek River flows into the Gulf of Alaska. Much of Kluane National Park (Yukon) and all of Tatshenshini-Alsek Park (BC) lie within CAFN’s traditional territory.

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Issue: 2017-12-06, PHOTO: courtesy of the Royal B.C. Museum

Eighteen years ago three sheep hunters named Bill Hanlon, Warren Ward and Mike Roche happened upon the body of a young Indigenous man while crossing a glacier in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park on Champagne and Aishihik First Nations traditional territory... more

Dec 6, 2017 12:00 AM Haines Junction

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Issue: 2017-08-09, PHOTO: courtesy of Augusto! Children’s Festival

“We are proud and excited to be founding the Yukon's only dedicated art and music festival for children,” says Darlene Sillery, one of the five main organizers of the Augusto! Children’s Festival in Haines Junction this weekend. more

Aug 9, 2017 12:00 AM Theatre - Dance


Issue: 2017-07-12, Photo: courtesy of Greg Komaromi

It makes sense that Yukon Women in Music came up with the idea for a series of campfire sing-alongs during a campfire sing-along. It was the summer of 2015 when a couple members of the organization, including BJ MacLean, were camping at Pine Lake. more

Jul 12, 2017 12:00 AM Yukon Music


Issue: 2017-05-31, PHOTO: courtesy of Rick Massie

World travel has its place, but Sharon Shorty says a lot of Yukoners need to get out and take a trip into their own territory. And, she says, if you want to start with Haines Junction, The Da Kų Nän Ts'etthet Dance Festival makes it easy... more

May 31, 2017 12:00 AM Haines Junction


Issue: 2016-09-22, PHOTO: courtesy of Clayton Windatt

Our community will soon welcome an expected 100+ Indigenous curators, artists, and academics participating in the first northern gathering of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. The collective is a national service organization of Indigenous... more

Sep 22, 2016 12:00 AM Yukon Arts

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Issue: 2016-08-11, PHOTO: courtesy of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board

The late Alex VanBibber had a favourite refrain: “An outdoor life is a healthy life.” This is according to his friend, Harvey Jessop. Jessop wrote some remarks about VanBibber’s life for the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, pertaining to... more

Aug 11, 2016 12:00 AM Yukon Education


Issue: 2016-06-16, PHOTO: by Meagan Deuling

On June 21st the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Society will be hosting National Aboriginal Day at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. The festivities are open to the public and will include games, music, food, kids activities and cultural displays... more

Jun 16, 2016 12:00 AM Yukon Culture

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Issue: 2015-11-26 PHOTO: Darrell Hookey

Standing in the hallway of the Horwood's Mall, looking into Climate Clothing, you don't immediately see the First Nation influence in the neat rows of clothing. You see earth tones, trending toward the dark due to the season, and little surprises... more

Nov 26, 2015 12:00 AM Yukon Business

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Issue: 2015-08-27 PHOTO: Jozien Keijzer

A few years ago, my brother found an ancient tool that had migrated upward through the soil in the middle of his wheat field in Southern Alberta. It was a sure sign of human life on the prairies long before Europeans came to “settle” the land. more

Aug 27, 2015 12:00 AM Yukon History

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Issue: 2015-08-13 PHOTO: Fiona McTaggart

Out on the old Alaska Highway, halfway to Haines Junction and only a few kilometres from Champagne, an observant traveller may spot Kwaday Dan Kenji, or Long Ago People’s Place. The privately-owned camp, the only one of its kind in the Yukon, ... more

Aug 13, 2015 12:00 AM Yukon History

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Issue: 2015-06-11 PHOTO: courtesy Champagne and Aishihik First Nation

“You feel it to your core; it is a heartbeat; so uplifting; it just goes right through me.” Steve Smith, the chief of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, is trying to explain what drumming means to him and his First Nation. “It was dormant... more

Jun 11, 2015 12:00 AM Yukon Culture

Some people should live forever; I felt immense loss as I heard about Alex Van Bibber’s passing on November 26, 2014, at the age of 98. I first heard about Alex van Bibber when I came to Canada in 1985. I was living in Atlin and had not yet heard more

Dec 10, 2014 12:00 AM Yukon People

Klukshu village, or Klukshu Łu Ghą is an important part of who Sheila Joe is. The heritage resources officer for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) spent a lot of time with her grandparents while growing up, and looks back on her time th more

Aug 7, 2014 12:00 AM Yukon Culture 2 Comments

On the way to the mountain, it occurs to me that the water temperature in the Yukon is quite similar, winter or summer. In big lakes the surface water rarely climbs above 11 C. more

May 1, 2014 12:00 AM Yukon Active

This month Robert Kennedy Jr. will be here rafting with his family. An environmental lawyer and co-founder of the non-profit conservation group Waterkeepers Alliance, Robert Jr. will also give a talk. more

Aug 1, 2013 12:00 AM Yukon People

If you've had your ear to the Yukon ground in the past year, you've probably felt a vibration shaking from 86Heaven – they're an informal conglomerate of Yukon hip hop artists headed by Warren Strand a.k.a. Abstract Original. more

May 2, 2013 12:00 AM Yukon Music

As nine-year-old Alexis Crystal Jim focuses on picking up a brilliant blue bead with her sewing needle and fastening it to a piece of hide, the women several decades older than her chat and laugh and sew. more

Feb 21, 2013 12:00 AM Yukon Culture

I was lucky to have coffee with Van Bibber one morning in January when he was in Whitehorse. His list of errands included picking up his cowboy boots, which he had polished for his upcoming trip to Saskatoon to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award fro more

Feb 7, 2013 12:00 AM Yukon People

Rufiange-Holway learned that a partnership had been reached between the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Habitat for Humanity Canada. The goal was to provide home ownership for low-income citizens on reserves and settlement lands in Canada. more

Feb 7, 2013 12:00 AM Making A Difference!

Fourteen lucky young Yukoners will get the opportunity to take part in an outdoor education camp this July for free. The Yukon Fish and Game Association's 25th annual Outdoor Education Camp takes place July 2-9 and it should provide an amazing... more

May 31, 2012 12:00 AM Yukon Active