First Nations Culture - Kluane Region
Explore treasured histories and vibrant, living cultures
Cultural centres, wilderness tours and First Nations camps are all ways to experience the traditional and modern ways of life of the First Nations on this route through Kluane Country.
For 5,000 years the Champagne area has been occupied by Indigenous people. Now, the site just off the Alaska Highway about 74 kilometres north of Whitehorse is also home to Long Ago Peoples Place. Visit this authentic re-creation of a traditional First Nations village to learn about the Southern Tutchone history and culture. Guides give a firsthand look at the ingenuity of traps, tools and structures fashioned out of natural materials like stone and animal skin. Enjoy bannock, hear stories and feel the connection to the land.
Less than an hour up the highway in Haines Junction, the Da Kų Cultural Centre is a modern gathering place and a chance to explore the living culture of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation. Visitors can watch artists at work, join a guided tour and sit in on a campfire talk. Exhibits include gorgeous beadwork, heirlooms, artifacts and a huge floor map that shows communities, camps and historic places.
A scenic drive leads from Haines Junction to the Kluane Museum of History in Burwash Landing on the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. The museum has a variety of fascinating exhibits, including many that offer another look at the traditional way of life of the area’s Southern Tutchone people. See artifacts, tools, moosehide clothing and fur-trimmed moccasins.
The highway veers away from Kluane Lake and on toward Alaska. Just before the Canada-US border is Beaver Creek, home to the White River First Nation. Archeological evidence shows their people have lived in this area for 10,000 years. Stop in at the Visitor Information Centre to learn more and see examples of intricate beadwork and other traditional crafts.
Along with these interesting stops along the highway, First Nation tour operators offer unique, immersive experiences. Take a day tour, stay overnight or spend several days at an authentic traditional camp on Kluane Lake. Hear captivating legends, learn about living off the land, walk trapping tails and watch for wildlife and medicinal plants.
Whether you spend a couple hours at a cultural centre or several days at a wilderness camp, exploring the vibrant First Nation cultures on this route is a rich, unforgettable experience.