success stories

Allocated Training Fund Projects

Vuntut Gwitchin (VGFN) – Language Immersion Program

Funding: $43,195

Completion: August 2014

The Gwich’in language is crucial to Vuntut Gwitchin culture and is of paramount importance to the Vuntut Gwitchin, as identified in the VGFN Final Agreement. Language holds the key to Vuntut Gwitchin cultural knowledge which is vital to government related responsibilities such as resource management, justice, health and education.

Currently, the Gwich’in language is considered strong as there are many fluent speakers, however, the vast majority of fluent speakers are over 50 years old with very few fluent speakers in the coming generations. In a matter of one generation the language could be lost completely. There is a small, strong group of fluent speakers located in Old Crow who are committed to saving the language. They have identified a need for training in immersion teaching techniques as immersion is widely accepted as the most effective means of achieving fluency.

The Language Immersion Training Project which was funded through Vuntut Gwich’in’s Allocated fund, offered two University of Alberta courses to fluent Gwich’in speakers interested in teaching their language. The small group of fluent speakers couldn’t revitalize the language in isolation so; in addition to the courses in immersion techniques and material development, instructors worked with students to apply their skills in a practical context. They conduct a community workshop that introduced immersion techniques to non-speakers and encouraged semi-fluent speakers to regain their language.

University of Alberta instructors from the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute came to the community of Old Crow for two one week courses in addition to the community practicum. Where practical, the training was conducted out on the land in a setting identified as being conducive to working with the Gwich’in language.

This training developed local immersion teaching skills in order to ensure the survival of the Gwich’in language which is integral to the development of Vuntut Gwitchin self-government.

Training Goals
  • To equip fluent speakers with current skills to pass Gwich’in to the next generation
  • To conduct professional level training in the community
  • To inspire the community to achieve fluency
Learning Outcomes
  • Students will achieve skills in teaching immersion style language activities
  • Students will gain professional training
  • Community members will understand immersion style learning and immersion students will apply skills

Generic Training Fund Projects

Electronic Information and Records Management Training

Project Lead: Kwnalin Dun First Nation (KDFN)

Partner: Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC)

Funding: $150,000

Completion: July 2014

It is essential for self-governing First Nations (SGFNs) to create, maintain, and utilize their own government’s records in an accountable way. They are responsible for the management of all records in their custody, as there are legal implications for destroying records without the proper authority. Following good records management practices will not only help meet legal requirements, but will improve access to information, control growth of materials taking up office space, reduce operational costs, minimize litigation risks and safeguard vital information while supporting better management when implementing government structures. Sound records management practices also allow SGFNs to make clear, concise and knowledgeable decisions which will preserve their Yukon First Nation history.

The Electronic Information & Records Management Training addressed the specific record management needs of KDFN and TTC as they implemented their SGAs. This training project focused on educating employees on current information and records management systems and technologies, giving them the tools to be able to integrate and implement an accountable Record Information Management (RIM) system into their respective government functions and making them First Nation leaders in this field.

Training Goals & Learning Outcomes
  • Trained and knowledgeable staff that can implement a records management department within each partnering YFN.
  • Completion of a records Classification and Retention schedule by both KDFN & TTC
  • Completion of a records management policy, records management guidelines & procedures manual for KDFN & TTC
  • Knowledge of a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Federal & Territorial) including potential implications to a Yukon self-governing First Nation.
  • RIM boot camp certification for all relevant First Nation staff
  • Organizational mentorship on-site in each participating community with the trainer.
  • Essentials of RIM certificate program credentials for key personnel from each First Nation.
  • Hands on training & implementation mentorship by Westbank First Nation
  • Completion of a staffing capacity and needs assessment to assist with future records maintenance planning for each partnering First Naiton

Land Registry Training Project

Project Lead: Tr’ondek Hwech’in

Partners: Champagne & Aishihik First Nations, Carcross Tagish First Nation, Kluane First Nation, Ta’an Kwach’an Council, Teslin Tlingit Council, Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation, and Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation

Funding: $241,127

Completion: July 2014

Since 1995, 11 self-governing Yukon First Nations’ (SGYFNs) Final Agreement (FA) and Self Government Agreements (SGA) came into legal effect in the Yukon. The SGAs provide the SGYFNs with the jurisdiction, powers and responsibilities to become legal entities. SGYFNs have the jurisdiction to make and enact laws with respect to their Settlement Lands, Citizens, taxation, municipal planning and to manage lands and resources. Section 5.5.1.4 of the FA states SGYFNs can establish a system to record interests in their Settlement Lands.

In the last few years, SGYFNs have encountered demands from Citizens and third parties for the use of their Settlement Lands. Most SGYFNs do not want to sell their Settlement Lands to Citizens or third parties so they have explored the option of leasing. SGYFNs are viewing land leases as either a way to increase options for Citizen housing or economic opportunities. Settlement Land developments would beneficially change SGYFNs economic development and provide a solid financial basis for future growth.

The lending institutions require a high level of accountability in order for leases to be used as security for mortgages. They require certainty that ownership is registered and maintained by the SGYFN governments, that the lands registrar guarantees title to registered Settlement Lands and that lease ownership is transferred through registration. Trained lands staff at both the SGYFNs and the central level are crucial to this process.

SGYFNs met several times over the course of two years to determine that the best way to set up a lands registry system would be to create one based on the POLAR model being used in Nunavut. The POLAR model is a cloud based computing model that requires no large capital investment for software and services, predictable monthly expense, and a short operational set up time.

In September 2013, the Yukon Indian People’s Training Trust approved $241,127 in funding for 8 SGYFNs to undergo training on the Land Registry System. The training has consisted of classroom lectures, participant interaction, hands on computer learning, with an additional 12 months of online support. All training has taken place in Whitehorse and has utilized a reference handbook containing instructions on the cloud based system and the elements necessary for the operation of the lands registry.

This training has increased the knowledge base and provided a new skill set for SGYFNs lands representatives and their lands staff members. The newly acquired skills have provided them with the ability to operate and maintain a cloud based lands registry system and increased their knowledge of their SGYFN land titles legislation and associated documents.

Training goals and learning outcomes
  • a solid understanding of, and foundation in the Land Titles (Torrens) system to all participants;
  • a fast, efficient and reliable Land Titles registration system operated by qualified, confident administrators with high customer service skills;
  • a solid basis for the valuation of development lands;
  • a practical hands-on training for all documentation requiring registration;
  • a best practice, procedural manual for reference and practical use by all participants;
  • integration of theory to practice in entering registrations into the specific cloud based registration system;
  • a reference system for unusual documentation, thereby ensuring uniformity of application throughout all Yukon First Nations.