A Three Nation Journey

By Shkooyéil (Tim Hall)

press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
1/20

A Three Nation Journey

By Shkooyéil (Tim Hall)

Yá Át X̱aawú Dís shuwaxíxi, ch’u nás’k haa Daḵká Lingít ḵwáan woosh een Áa Tleindáx̱ Natasahéenidé wutuwaḵoox̱ú, wé yaakw tlein tin.

This July, the three interior Tlingit nations, from Atlin, Carcross and Teslin completed a journey together on big canoes. We travelled from Atlin to Carcross, on Atlin and Tagish lakes, to arrive at the opening of Haa Ḵusteeyí, a cultural festival being held in Carcross, Yukon, for the first time.

Each boat had about a dozen paddlers, depending on the day, with a mix of men, women and youth and a wide range of ages. For many, it was the first time meeting paddlers from other communities. We started in Atlin, at a Taku River Tlingit camp, with the water calm like glass, and paddled past the town and crossed the lake to a old railroad trail.The canoes are stable when everyone is seated with their weight distributed evenly and is paddling together -- but they can be tippy if the group is out of sync. So, we were thankful to have calm conditions for the crossing.

We took a couple hours to portage the canoes across the trail to Tagish Lake, wheeling them across on 2x4 dollies. We had one flat tire and had to carry half of one of the canoes for the last kilometre or so; but other than that, it went smoothly. New support boats from Carcross met us on the other side.

The second day was calm again, and gave us time to get in sync with one another, which was good because the third day on the lake had 20km northerly winds early in the morning. Our Áa Tlein yaakw s’aatí, Atlin boat captain, Yaa Ndaḵín Yéil Wayne Carlick, had built a sail for the canoe with his friend Yant’eiteen George Esquiro.

Yá Át X̱aawú Dís shuwaxíxi, ch’u nás’k haa Daḵká Lingít ḵwáan woosh een Áa Tleindáx̱ Natasahéenidé wutuwaḵoox̱ú, wé yaakw tlein tin.

This July, the three interior Tlingit nations, from Atlin, Carcross and Teslin completed a journey together on big canoes. We travelled from Atlin to Carcross, on Atlin and Tagish lakes, to arrive at the opening of Haa Ḵusteeyí, a cultural festival being held in Carcross, Yukon, for the first time.

Each boat had about a dozen paddlers, depending on the day, with a mix of men, women and youth and a wide range of ages. For many, it was the first time meeting paddlers from other communities. We started in Atlin, at a Taku River Tlingit camp, with the water calm like glass, and paddled past the town and crossed the lake to a old railroad trail.The canoes are stable when everyone is seated with their weight distributed evenly and is paddling together -- but they can be tippy if the group is out of sync. So, we were thankful to have calm conditions for the crossing.

We took a couple hours to portage the canoes across the trail to Tagish Lake, wheeling them across on 2x4 dollies. We had one flat tire and had to carry half of one of the canoes for the last kilometre or so; but other than that, it went smoothly. New support boats from Carcross met us on the other side.

The second day was calm again, and gave us time to get in sync with one another, which was good because the third day on the lake had 20km northerly winds early in the morning. Our Áa Tlein yaakw s’aatí, Atlin boat captain, Yaa Ndaḵín Yéil Wayne Carlick, had built a sail for the canoe with his friend Yant’eiteen George Esquiro.