Native North American Nations in The Canadian Territories

Arctic Sunset with Rainbow


The People of the North

In Russia, there is a group of remarkable individuals popularly known only as "The People of the North" and their relatives live in the northernmost parts of Canada as First Nations and Native North Americans.

I am totally in awe of such individuals that know how to survive without modern conveniences in temperatures of -75°F. People that can survive Mother Nature at Her worst can surely survive anything and win any battle or any challenge. They must be the epitome of survivors, along with long-time Prisoners of War (POWs) that make it back from inhumane captivity alive.

Some of these First Nation individuals in Canada are the Canadian Inuit ("The People") and are related to the Russian Inuit and the Greenland Inuit.

On the Circumpolar Map below, the "Others" listed are the additional groups living in the Arctic and these may be closely related to any and all of the Inuit people.


Similar Cultural Symbols

One item that does, in fact, relate of the the Arctic Peoples, whether they be Scandinavian, Russian, Asian, or First Nation, is the legend of the sunrise. In the western part of the Eastern Hemisphere, reindeer are said to pull the sum up every morning to begin a new day. As we travel eastward, the reindeer becomes a dragon that pulls up the sun each day.

All of the People of the North around the globe live by catching sea mammals, caribou, and fish for food and sales. Snow and ice Igloos are their primary winter residence, along with some wood huts. Summer reveals tents of caribou skins for housing. Dogsleds and huskiets or malamutes are used for hunting. Weapons were were first made form ivory and bones, with metals added later. In more modern areas of the Arctic, the Inuit actually use snowmobiles and rifles.

Inukshuk Dust

An Inuit Inukshuk

Canadas ambassador to Mexico, Guillermo Rishchynski, left, and Nuevo Len Gov. Jos Natividad Gonzlez unveil an Inukshuk in Monterrey in northern Mexico on October 31, 2007.
Canadas ambassador to Mexico, Guillermo Rishchynski, left, and Nuevo Len Gov. Jos Natividad Gonzlez unveil an Inukshuk in Monterrey in northern Mexico on October 31, 2007. | Source

The Inukshuk

The Inikshuk shown in a photograph above is a tall stone land marker that reminds us of Stonehange in a way, built of stones piled on top of one another in a stack.

The Inukshuk is used as a directional marker by the Inuit, because there are few landmarks to use as reference in the land of permafrost and snow. Among a white background and ground, the stone structure is visible to travelers in the snowfields, going by sled and snowshoes.

The directional markers are important to the culture of the Inuit, who consider them in daily life very seriously. The structures are built only with good reason and they are scrupulously maintained in order for travelers to have reference points to guide them in the wilderness.Without them, travelers could become easily lost and die.

Inukshuk means "to stand in for a person" and even looks like a man or a statue of a man, pointing directions. The structure is important enough to take center place in the Nunavut flag.

What is an Inukshuk?

NUNAVUT means "Our Land"

This is likely the most interesting and awe-inspiring place in Canada.

Nunavut is the largest and newest (4/1/1999) of the organized territories in Canada, and home to Inuits. Baffin Island in Nunavut is Canada's largest island and home to the provincial capital of Iqaluit. The province was formed with the thought of returning land and government to the First Nation, specifically the Inuits.

Baffin Island has been home to first nation peoples for over 4,000 years, some of whom may have met visiting Norse explorers and vikings around 1,000 AD, but this is uncertain.

In Nunavut, the Inuits speak Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English, and French as officially recognized languages. 85% of the people (about 23,000) call themselves Inuit, so this province is predominantly a First Nation province. The province covers nearly 2,000,000 square kilometers.


show route and directions
A markerNUNAVUT -
Nunavut, Canada
[get directions]

B markerBaffin Island -
Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
[get directions]

An Inuit's Aplphabet

Inuktitut alphabet
Inuktitut alphabet
Aurora Borealis in the Northwest Territories
Aurora Borealis in the Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories (NT)

The Yellowknife Indians are also known as the Tatsanottine. These people are Athabaskan-speaking, having lived northeast of the Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes for some time. The name Yellowknife comes from the copper knives and other tools that this nation has used.

Major Organized First in the Northwest Territories (NT)

  • Acho Dene Koe. Fort Liard NT
  • Aklavik First Nation. Aklavik, NT
  • Dene Cultural Institute. Hay River NT
  • Dene Nation. Yellowknife, NT
  • Metis Association of the Northwest Territories. Yellowknife, NT

Dawson City, Yukon Territory

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chief Isaac in the YukonDawson City in the Goldrush
Chief Isaac in the Yukon
Chief Isaac in the Yukon
Dawson City in the Goldrush
Dawson City in the Goldrush

Yukon Territory

Major First Nation Bands of the Yukon

  • Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
  • Council for Yukon Indians. Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
  • Han First Nation (see map). Dawson City
  • Kaska Tribal Council. Watson Lake
  • Dease River Band and the Teslin Tlingit Council. Teslin, Yukon Territory
  • Vuntut Gwitch'in First Nation. Old Crow

Detailed Facts for 14 Recognized Groups of Yukon First Nations

Han Territory End Points

show route and directions
A markerDawson City, Yukon -
Dawson, YT, Canada
[get directions]

B markerCircle, Alaska -
Circle, AK, USA
[get directions]

About the Yukon and gold, by Hubber Rolly A. Chabot

Cross Claims
Cross Claims

Prospectors still work the Yukon fields and this story highlights the thrill of the experience and life-affirming good deeds of a pair of prospectors.


Highlights of the Han First Nation

The Han Territory straddles the Yukon-Alaska border along the Yukon River approximately 20km south of Dawson and northward to Circle, Alaska in a wide northwest to southeast diagonal. The Han (translated as People of the River) in Canada were displaced by the miners of the Klondike Goldrush in the early 1900s and Chief Isaac led his people in the Yukon Territory after their displacement.

The descendants of Chief Isaac's group recently formed a commercial division, known as Chief Isaac, Inc. This company includes legitimate shareholders, 100% of whom are all from Dawson City in the Yukon.

Ice Floes Under The Midnight Sun


Land of the Midnight Sun

On June 21st every year, the Summer Solstice, the sun never sets at all in parts of the Yukon. The "midnight sun" creates longer summer days with red and magenta skyscapes that hypnotize viewers.

Poet Robert W. Service

This poet and former bank knew about survival without the skills that the Inuit possess.He nearly perished in the Canadian Yukon and had a great love and respect for the North.

Sometimes called The Bard of the Yukon, Robert Service along went with the Yukon Goldrushers and lived in a cabin in Dawson City as he wrote about this frontier and its people.

He wrote volumes of poetry, including an ode to the full moon that saved him out in the wilderness one cold night with it's directional glow.

Service also wrote such famous poems as Song of the Sourdough, The Men that Don't Fit In and many others. His WWI poetry was used in trauma clinics during the return home of injured Vietnam Veterans.

How the Moon Saved Service

I learned at a poetry convention that Robert W. Service was in the Yukon during the winter and one dark night lost his way. The moon was not visible. He later wrote a poem to the moon, because it suddenly appeared and its light guided him to safety.

The hostess of the convention memorized every word of Service's entire works and recited from them all weekend. She also recited The Face On the Barroom Floor, because while often attributed to Mr. Service, he did not write it. Mad Magazine published a parody of that poem.

More by this Author

Comments 25 comments

Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 9 years ago

Dear Patty, This history is fascinating!

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

a magic hub and you rate very highly with me.

All that knowledge for me

Thank you

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

GURU-C and MrMarmalade, I am happy that this work is interesting to you. It is fascinating to me! :) More to come...

jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 9 years ago from Scotland

I have just read part four and now i find part 5 ,i missed them earlier somehow lol. this is a fantastic series of hubs with a wealth of information, you have astonished me with your knowledge in this field and to know that there is even more to come is fantastic, patty if i could add you as a fan more than once you would have a thousand more fans all called jimmythejock, take care.....jimmy

teeray profile image

teeray 9 years ago from Canada

Awesome article and pictures, Patty! I'm scrambling to find the other parts of this article series.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

I have the other related pages listed as links in the first text box above. lol Hpefully I have them all connected up! :)

Jimmy, thanks for being 1000 fans to me! I studied Native Americans and other indigenous peoples in college as part of a minor in social sciences and really enjoyed it. I keep finding more information as I go along, checking resources for updates! :)

Thank you too, teeray. Always good to hear from you!

soyelude profile image

soyelude 9 years ago from Lagos - Nigeria

Just read this hub and its quite rich in historical detail. A very educative and informative hub.Great job. Patty,are there still native red indians in America?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Hi solyeude! It's great to hear from you again!

I also learned (in 1996) that one of the Iroquois Nation's tribal words for "cousin" is the same as that found in a Zulu language, and this is a linguistic marker for the two peoples to be rather closely related. I recall viewing pictures of both and noting that some headdresses were nearly identical among Mohawk and Zulu.

There are indeed several hundred thousand (I don't know if it's millions, but I will soon know) full-blood Native Americans in the USA. My next hubs will go from the west coast to the east coast of USA and talk about that. There are SO many nations and bands of Native Americans in California alone, that I cannot even list them in a Hub. I have had to add links to lists and commentary about them.

Thanks for reading. By the way, I am 3/8 Mohawk. One day I will take the DNA test for tribal registration, as the papers on that side of the family are not available. In fact, there is very little documentation about that side of the family. What is pretty certain is that an ancestor translated languages at the Battle of Fort Pitt.

Iðunn 9 years ago

awesome Hub~

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Thanks Iouun. Amazing culture, isn't it?

Iðunn 9 years ago

it is and a lot of this is new to me. I haven't delved much into inuit culture, yet.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

I could sit in a room with these materials for 6 months and never come out; there is so much.

Iðunn 9 years ago

I share your fascination. When I get done restoring my Hubs I know exactly whose Hubs I'm going to be spending a lot of time in. :)

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

And I will enjoy reading all of your restored hubs. Great place!

Iðunn 9 years ago

I don't know that you will enjoy them, really. :p Can't say I didn't warn you.

Seriously, unless you have a vast interest in American left politics, or Irish nationalism, they probably aren't going to fall into your interests.

You are most welcome to give them a shot, however, if you want. :)

Perhaps you might find some joy in the re-Rising of the ridiculous for-fun Frozen Sparrow Revolution.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

My great great (maybe more)  grandfather migrated from England to Ireland and then to America and wouldn't tell anyone here he had lived in Ireland because of discrimination, so I am interested in all things Ireland.

As for politics, I study all sides and listen to all platforms, but remain an independent looking for the best. My "things" on Earth are anti-abuse of all kinds, good stewardship of the planet, experimental math and physics, multiple dimensions, and raising up the Native American -- the Mohawks in Canada are a far leftest party all of there own. I like THEM --... :)

Iðunn 9 years ago

you might enjoy giving them a browse then, as you have time. I came into the fascination sideways myself via loving an individual, I'm not even Irish-American. I looked into it both sides and formed my own opinion and to me it was/is a social justice issue. underbirdz.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Interesting. I'm 3/8 Mohawk, 3/8 English with some Irish-Scottish, and 1/4 French with one German ancestor. I have everything that brought and/or suffered abuse and horror in North America in the 1600s and see it as also a social justice issue.

I'd say don't ever think about people not liking any of your poetry. Someone will and that is important. What you write may impact a life as no other thing could.

Iðunn 9 years ago

thx patty, you're a warm and considerate person. :) I think you bring a great deal to the table in hubber interaction.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Oh, wow, thanks! I am making some good friends here and I know others are. It's a positive venue overall I think.

AuraGem profile image

AuraGem 9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

I have just just spent quite awhiles wandering through this hub. When I visited Canada (Saskatchewan) I brought back a small souvenir Inukshuk! It has always fascinated me!

Thank you for the sheer pleasure of relaxing and learning!

Smiles and Light

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

I;ve never been to that province yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well as these Hubs.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

More great history, Patty. Thanks for a nice trip -- even if it is a little cold up there. Inukshuk is fascinating. It reminds me a little of some stone I've seen in Colorado when I was stationed there in the Army in 1957. But I don't think I'll try to learn the language, or even the alphabet!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thank you William! Colorado was interesting, I'll bet.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

Absolutely fascinating. again, Patty. Your research is unbelievably deep. Thank you for all your hard work.

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