Economic Development
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

Air North is an economic investment and lifeline for Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

Air North plane with Mapping the Way logo
Air North planes feature the Mapping the Way logo, as their company's growth was made possible by the Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s Final Agreement made it possible for the First Nation to acquire a 49% interest in Air North, Yukon’s Airline.

This investment provides economic sustainability for the First Nation, jobs for its citizens and a transportation lifeline to Old Crow, the Yukon’s only fly-in community.

This investment also benefits Air North's hundreds of employees, and all Air North customers who travel to and from the Yukon, and to Yukon communities.

Founded in 1977 as a charter service primarily in support of the mining industry, Vuntut Gwitchin’s investment enabled Air North to become one of the largest private sector employers in the Yukon. It now offers regularly-scheduled service to a number of Canadian cities, and charter services throughout North America.

As of 2013, the Air North fleet of aircraft has proudly worn the Mapping the Way icon as a symbol of the airline’s partnership with Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, and its support for promoting and celebrating how settled land claims and self-government strengthen the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the Yukon.

Most recently, the Vuntut Gwitchin and Air North, Yukon’s Airline have partnered with Kluane First Nation, to form Chieftain Energy Limited Partnership. Chieftain is a majority First Nation-owned company, supplying fuel, lubricants, and liquified natural gas (LNG) throughout the Yukon, NWT, and Northern B.C. Chieftain has also established non-equity partnership arrangements with Dease River First Nation, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Selkirk First Nation, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Chieftain’s vision is to create a local supply chain in partnership with First Nations so that more of the money spent on energy stays in the North and benefits northern communities.

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) signed its Final and Self-Government Agreement on May 29, 1993.

Who are we?

Vuntut Gwitchin means “People of the Lakes.” Today, VGFN retains a vital connection to the Porcupine Caribou herd, which is a primary source of food for the First Nation. The herd migrates more than 2,500 kilometres through the First Nation’s Traditional Territory each year.

Where are we?

The Traditional Territory of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation extends across north Yukon into Alaska and the Northwest Territories. Old Crow, home of the Vuntut Gwitchin people, is the northern most community in Yukon, located 128 km north of the Arctic Circle at the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine Rivers.

Benefits of the Agreements

Land management and protection of the environment is of critical importance to the Vuntut Gwitchin people. As part of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Final Land Claim Agreement the Vuntut National Park was established in 1995 to conserve 4,345 square kilometers of remote, unspoiled Arctic wilderness and to recognize and protect Vuntut Gwitchin’s history and use of that land. Together, Parks Canada, the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the North Yukon Renewable Resources Council cooperatively manage the park.

Fun Fact

Old Crow is the only fly-in community in Yukon. Some say this isolation is a blessing for our people, for it enables us to preserve our language, traditional pursuits such as fishing, trapping, snow shoeing and hunting — particularly hunting the Porcupine Caribou Herd.