Vuntut Gwitchin is the name of people who live in the settlement of Old Crow, Yukon. The name in the Gwich'in language means "people of the lakes". Old Crow is the northernmost Yukon community, located 128 km (80 miles) north of the Arctic Circle at the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine Rivers.
The Gwich'in communities in the Northwest Territories are located in Mackenzie Delta.
Tetlit Zheh (aka Fort McPherson)
Fort McPherson is a community of approximately 950 people, the majority being of Gwich’in ancestry. Fort McPherson sits on the banks of the beautiful Peel River overlooking the majestic Richardson Mountains. Located 187 km of Inuvik, it is surrounded by beautiful birch, spruce and pines trees, the fresh waters of the Peel and well protected land.
Fort McPherson is a strongly knit community; supporting all traditional and cultural values and is the home land of all the Gwich’in.
Treaty 11 was signed on July 28, 1921 on the banks of Fort McPherson by Chief Julius Salu and his headmen. Today the community still honours the signing of the treaty as it provides the Gwich’in rights to education and other benefits. On April 22, 1992 Fort McPherson was the host community to the signing of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement with the Canadian Government, marking this as an important day in Gwich’in history. For more information, call 867-952-2330.
Tsiigehtchic – which translates in the Gwich’in language as “at the mouth of the iron river” – was formerly known as Arctic Red River. The name may refer to the iron or mineral deposit found in the soil further up the Arctic Red. The community was the first Loucheux (Gwich’in) Indian band to sign Treaty 11 in 1921. For more information, call 867-953-3011.
Aklavik is located on the Peel Channel of the Mackenzie Delta, approximately 100 kilometres south of the Beaufort Sea. It was the administrative centre of the Western Arctic before Inuvik was built in the late 1950’s. For more information, call 867-978-2937
Inuvik is situated on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River, 120 km south of the Arctic Ocean and 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. It was built by the Federal government to replace Aklavik which was subject to annual spring flooding and offered little space for expansion. For more information, call 867-777-6650
Arctic Village is situated on the east fork of the Chandalar River, 100 miles north of Fort Yukon and 290 miles north of Fairbanks. The Neets'aii Gwich'in, "residents of the north side", are people who reside in Arctic Village and lead a subsistence-based lifestyle. Caribou, moose, sheep, porcupine, rabbit and ptarmigan are hunted. Freshwater fish, waterfowl and berries are also harvested as a supplementary source of food. Until the 1950's, the Neets'aii Gwich'in lived a highly nomadic life. During this time they traditionally used seasonal camps and semi-permanent settlements such as Arctic Village, Christain, Venetie and Sheenjak in pursuit of fish and game. For more information on the Neets'aii Gwich'in, contact (907) 587-55223.
Birch Creek village is situated along Birch Creek approximately 26 miles southwest of Fort Yukon. The Dendu Gwich'in, "foothill mountain people", reside in this village and actively follow subsistence practices. Salmon, whitefish, moose, black bear, waterfowl and berries provide most of the food sources for the Dendu Gwich'in. For more information, call (907) 221-2213.
Chalkyitsik, which means "fish hooking place", is located on the Black River about 50 miles east of Fort Yukon. The community has been an important seasonal fishing site for the Gwich'in. Chalkyitsik is home to the Draan'jik Gwich'in, "Black River Indians", who have lived a highly nomadic lifestyle. They lived at the headwaters of the Black River from autumn to spring, then moved downriver to fish in the summer. Chalkyitsik is a traditional Gwich'in community with a subsistence lifestyle. For more information, call (907) 848-8117.
Circle is located on the south bank of the Yukon River at the edge of the Yukon Flats, 160 miles northeast of Fairbanks. The Danzhit Hanlaih Gwich'in, "water flowing out of the mountains", live in Circle, Alaska. They rely on a subsistence lifestyle: salmon, freshwater fish, moose and bear are the major sources for meat. Trapping and the sale of handicrafts contribute to family income of the Danzhit Hanlaih. For more information, call (907) 773-2822.
Located at the confluence of the Yukon River and Porcupine River, Fort Yukon is about 145 air miles northeast of Fairbanks. Fort Yukon is home to the Gwich'yaa Gwich'in, "people of the flats". The Gwich'yaa Gwich'in rely on subsistence foods such as salmon, whitefish, moose, caribou, bear and waterfowl as their meat source. Trapping and the sale of handicrafts provide income to the Gwich'yaa Gwich'in. For more information, call (907) 587-2587.
Located on the north side of the Chandalar River 45 miles northwest of Fort Yukon, Venetie is home to the Gwichyaa Gwich'in, "people of the flats". This village was founded by a man named Old Robert who choose Venetie because of the abundance of fish and game. Venetie is also home to descendants from the Neets'ai and Dihaii Gwich'in. The Gwich'in who live in this community are dependent on subsistence harvesting of salmon, whitefish, moose, caribou, bear, waterfowl and small game for meat sources. For more information, call (907) 849-8212.