Ta’an Kwäch’än Council

Chief Jim Boss (Kishoot)

A photo of Chief Jim Boss standing in traditional clothes with one hand on the back of the chair

In 1900, Chief Jim Boss (Kishoot) recognized the effect of settlers and petitioned the Government of Canada:

"...the Indians are unable to subsist as they were formerly able to do... He [Jim Boss] says ‘tell the King very hard we want something for our Indians because they take our land and our game."

From a letter Jim Boss wrote through lawyer T.W. Jackson to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, dated January 13, 1902

Boss was born in 1857, and was the hereditary Chief of the Ta’an Kwäch’än. In the late 1800s, he recognized that the influx of people — as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush — was significantly impacting Yukon First Nations and their way of life.

In 1900 and 1902, Boss wrote to the Yukon Commissioner and the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs requesting compensation for his people’s loss of land and hunting grounds.

a photo scan of a letter written on a type writer with hand written script across it

Although the federal government’s response was lacklustre, this action by Chief Jim Boss laid the foundation for First Nations land claims almost 100 years before the first agreements were signed in the Yukon.