Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Language and Heritage | Elders Statement

"We who are Tagish and we who are Tlingit, our heritage has grown roots into the earth since the olden times. Therefore we are part of the earth and the water."

We know our Creator entrusted us with the responsibility of looking after the land into perpetuity, and the water, and whatever is on our land, and what is beneath our land. So those coming after us, we will give them that responsibility into perpetuity. Our elders have assigned us the task of showing respect to things. Therefore, we will look after our land as they have told us to do, as did our elders, because we were the first to come to this land that is now called Canada."

"We will be the bosses of our land. We will watch over our land as we have agreed upon, and as we ourselves manage things according to our traditions. We will bequeath it to those coming after us into perpetuity. We will work with people to strengthen our heritage, to give a firm foundation to our peoples lives, and to manage our land well. We will work with all peoples to take good care of our land, and all the resources of this land, as we have agreed on. We will be our own masters. We who are the Tagish, and we who are the Tlingit, will protect our land, so that the things will be according to what has been agreed on, so that they will live by it."

"According to what we have agreed on, we will reform the way we work with the government. We will work together with mutual respect, and act truthfully [toward each other]. We will all work together, those who own the land, and those who use the land. We will manage together, the land and the water and what is on the land. Then everything will be prepared for those coming after us."

"As we have agreed on, so we will act. We will work as our elders instruct us, and improve the lot of those coming after us. We will use our land with other nations. Moreover, we will look after our land well, so that our descendants can see how good it is, and in this way too, we will respect our land from which we were born."

Tagish Language Version by Ms. Lucy Wren
(Assisted by Ms. Clara Schinkel, Ms. Margaret Workman, and Mr. John Ritter)
Yukon Native Language Center
December 2002