Whitehorse Daily Star

Yukon First Nations Party established

Only three days before Premier Darrell Pasloski announced the territorial election,

By Nadine Sander-Green on September 9, 2011

Only three days before Premier Darrell Pasloski announced the territorial election, one Burwash Landing resident started a political party.

Gerald Dickson, a member of the Kluane First Nations, registered the Yukon First Nations Party on Tuesday.

He already has the mandatory two candidates to be considered an official party in the election.

Dickson, 47, is the leader of the newly-formed party and will also run as a candidate in Kluane.

Stanley James, longtime Carcross resident, will represent Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes.

Dickson said Thursday there also might be a candidate interested in running in Pelly-Nisutlin. Stacey Hassard defeated incumbent Justice Minister Marian Horne for that riding's nomination last month.

Dickson said the reason he started the party is simple: his elders' voices are not being heard.

Action, he said, is required to manifest the traditional laws of respect, honour, love, compassion and harmony.

And Dickson believes only First Nations people can really understand First Nations issues.

"We want the natural laws to be honoured and respected,” he said.

Sustaining First Nations' natural and cultural resources, Dickson told the Star, is at the very heart of the party's beliefs.

He did admit, though, that he hasn't yet sat down with James nor other people interested in the party to flesh out its policies and platform.

Dickson was raised by his grandparents in Burwash Landing, where he lives now and does some carpentry work.

He was deeply involved in land agreements and says he was the first First Nation person to speak out against them.

"I was the first to say they were illegal documents,” he said.

Dickson said he was involved in politics for many years in the Kluane region, but has become less involved in recent years.

"I don't even vote anymore,” admitted Dickson.

But he knows his new position gives both himself, and his elders, the potential to have their voices heard within the territorial government.

Dickson said he is particularly worried about the environmental damage of dams. He created the film Declining Film Source two years ago to examine the impact of damming the Aishihik River in the early 1970s.

"We need to have respect for the natural world and how it functions,” he said.

Dickson remembers a time when everyone would see a moose trampling on by the band building, and let it go. Nobody would touch the animal until it was "fat and ready” in January.

"That doesn't happen anymore.”

Dickson said James is also someone who has been involved in politics for a long time, including negotiating land claim agreements.

His integrity to protect the inherent rights of First Nations people is what makes James a strong candidate, explained Dickson.

Arthur Mitchell, the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party, told the Star Thursday afternoon that although it does seem a little "late in the day” to be creating a political party, and he doesn't know its platform nor goals, everyone is entitled to get together and start a party.

Dickson is not sure when he will announce his third candidate, or if there will be a third candidate at all. He did say he is receiving a lot of support from his community.

"Now,” said Dickson, reiterating what is perhaps the most common line in election campaigns — "it's time to start knocking on doors.”

By Nadine Sander-Green

Star Reporter

Comments (4)

Up 0 Down 0

snowcanoe on Sep 12, 2011 at 3:55 am

Must have been lots of high-fives at the Yukon Party Headquarters when this news came out...

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Happy Paws on Sep 12, 2011 at 3:02 am

to "Pendulum has swung to far"

In BC there used to be (not sure if it still exists) the Christian Heritage Party - a religious based party. If a party based on religion can exist I suspect once based on race can exist - no saying I necessarily agree with it . . .

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See Ya Canada... on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:46 am

Hmmm, why do I feel like we are collectively sitting on top of Mt. Logan with a crazy carpet under our buttocks as we look towards the slippery slope we are about to go for another fast ride...into more rocks?

Race based politics...fantastic, just what we need more retarding of our societies advances to appease 2% of Canada's population.

Seems more like the makings of a traditional Bloc party. This PC foolishness has truly swung the pendulum "too" far.

Which for all the entitled crew whom WILL salivate over this article...the Yukon still is in what thus far is still known to be Canada.

Certainly once equity politics gets going, the first order of business a name change to Turtle Island?

With every level of governments tripping over each other trying to appease 2% of us here in Canada...I think I'm done with the voting process.

Up 0 Down 0

Pendulum has swung to far on Sep 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

Isn't it illegal to start a party or do anything in Canada based solely on race? If you tried to start a 'non first nation party' natives would be screaming how racist it was from the rooftops.

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