Our Homeland

Our homeland is a vast area of approximately 55,548 square kilometres in northern Yukon. For millennia, Van Tat Gwich’in people lived and travelled in an area that extends from the present-day Dempster Highway west to the Alaska Border, east to the border with the Northwest Territories, and north to the northern mountain ranges of Crow Flats. 

The community of Old Crow is at the heart of our homeland, within the seasonal migration routes of the Porcupine caribou herd. In spring (April/May) and fall (August/September) the herd passes through the lands of the Van Tat Gwich’in heading north to the Arctic coastal plain to calve in the summer months. In the fall the herd returns south to its wintering range south of Old Crow. 

Our home community can be reached by boat in summer, snow machine in winter, or plane year-round.

Protected Areas

In addition to VGFN Settlement Lands, the Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement created three Protected Areas.

These are the Vuntut National Park, designated under Canada’s National Parks Act; Fishing Branch Ecological Reserve, designated under Yukon’s Parks Act; and the Old Crow Flats Special Management Area, which is managed in accordance with an agreed-to Management Plan. 

More recently, two additional Protected Areas have been added—the Daadzaii Van and Ch’ihilli Chik  Parks.

Vuntut Gwitchin Traditional Territory Heritage Routes and Sites

The Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement required the creation of Rampart House and Lapierre House, two former fur trading posts, as Historic Sites under the Historic Resources Act. Rampart House is located downstream from Old Crow on the Porcupine River at the Yukon/Alaska border. Lapierre House is located on the Bell River, which flows into the Porcupine River upstream of Old Crow. 

The Final Agreement also identified ten heritage routes and five sites to which specific provisions in the Final Agreement apply.