Yukon Indian Chief: We are seeing birds up in our community we have never seen before – Their migrations are changing – The snow is changing – The rivers are changing – Everything is changing right in front of our eyes


Officials in the Yukon’s most northern community have declared a state of emergency, saying the traditional way of life in Old Crow is under threat. “It’s going to be the blink of an eye before my great grandchild is living in a completely different territory, and if that’s not an emergency, I don’t know what is,” said Dana Tizya-Tramm, chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, after a ceremony marking the state of emergency May 19.

climate change state of emergency yukon, yukon climate change state of emergency
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm says the community of Old Crow, Yukon, faces a state of emergency because of climate change. Photo by Heather Avery/CBC

Tizya-Tramm said climate change is dramatically altering the landscape of Old Crow, directly putting his people’s culture in jeopardy.

We are seeing birds up in our community we have never seen before. Their migrations are changing, the snow is changing, the rivers are changing. Everything is changing right in front of our eyes.

Lorraine Netro, a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and an environmental advocate, said she’s scared about what could happen if people don’t start working now to reverse the effects of climate change.

We’re spiritually connected to our land, to our water and to our animals, and it’s our sole responsibility to make sure we do everything in our power to take care of the land and water for future generations,” she said.

Children play in Old Crow, Yukon, May 19. The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has declared a state of emergency over climate change. (Heather Avery/CBC)

Tizya-Tramm said the declaration does not come with a request for funding. Instead, he hopes it creates a pathway for other Indigenous communities to follow.

And from here we hope to create an Indigenous climate accord, whether it be pan-Arctic or right across the Arctic circle, but it should start with the Arctic,” he said.

Tizya-Tramm is working closely with Kluane Ademek, the Yukon regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, to bring other Yukon First Nations on board.

Next month, delegates from the Vuntut Gwitchin will take their declaration “six hours downriver” to Fort Yukon, Alaska, Tizya-Tramm said.

That’s where the Gwich’in Steering Committee is holding the Arctic Indigenous Climate Summit. Gwich’in delegates from communities across the North will travel there to share their concerns about climate change, the welfare of the Porcupine caribou herd and food security.

I don’t know if it is climate change… But there is really something to do to reverse our weather chaos! What is currently going on right now is insane. Soon, the degradation of the natural world is going to be humanity’s existential crisis.

Follow us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Share your thoughts in our DISCUSSION FORUMS. Donate through Paypal. Please and thank you



  1. The agencies that urged their culture to build schools have failed. The elders can re-educate their communities in the one tradition they have survived on for generations, the nomadic life. Add a building for the children’s schools, and add the wisdom of the elders and the nomadic ways of life for survival and stewardship of the balance with nature. Return to what works when money, or “The devil in our pocket”, will not do the job.

  2. The Athabaskan (Eskimo) elders in Alaska have spent thousands of years studying the sky and stars before TV brought The Simpsons and Naked and Afraid to their villages. They have said that the stars are not where they used to be, and that the Earth’s axis has changed, causing the weather phenomenons we see everywhere. I, for one, believe them.

    • That can caused by multiple things what we do not know for sure, but some of the “main” governments and other groups know about.
      the change is unavoidable,this is one thing is surely!

  3. If everyone all lived in teepees, hunted their food, and lit fires every evening. The climate would be even more of a worse state.

    • Bert Sheep,

      I’m sorry that i have to tell you these news for you.
      You are a naive consumer.
      But at least you areon the page where you may learn something.
      And from some people here.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.