History & Culture
The history and cultures of Yukon-Charley Rivers are as rich and varied as the landscape which has supported them through time. Stone tool remnants give us hazy clues about the earliest prehistoric hunters that roamed the uplands. Early photographs and journals provide a glimpse into the world of the Han Gwich'in Athapascans just before the gold rush. From there one can start to explore the lives of those who followed in their tracks and made a new life along the rivers; the miners, geologists, soldiers, trappers, explorers, and homesteaders that have moved into and through the region over the past hundred or more years. These histories are still being explored; still being recorded, told, and made anew.
This place has a colorful past. Numerous people have passed through the upper Yukon River region and left their histories to be interpreted. Some have stayed and continue to build those histories. The following pages will allow you to explore some aspects of these people; their lives and livelihoods, their ways and customs, their trials and tribulations.
People have been a part of the Upper Yukon River region and surrounding uplands for thousands of years and people remain an integral part of this landscape today.
As people have passed through this landscape they left their marks on the places the inhabited. Some are mere shadows of the past, visible only to the trained eye; others are more imposing, commanding one's attention. Some of these places simply say "home."
Stories are the threads that people have woven into the tapestry of the past. Each is unique and worthy of telling, yet it is in their connectedness that we come to see the whole picture.
Museum collections allow us to learn about the stories of people who are lost to time. They also tell us stories of the landscape that persists, but cannot speak for itself. They document moments in time and so, are of timeless importance.
Without preservation we would not have these stories to tell. For left to themselves, the people and places, objects and tales, would disappear into the depths of time. We do what we can to secure them for those yet to come.
Did You Know?
The 1,979 mile long Yukon River flows through Yukon-Charley Rivers for 128 miles at 6-8 mph, to eventually empty into the Bering Sea.