Wolf Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie

Caribou Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie 
Caribou Logo

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The purpose of the following pages is to tell you a story. A true story of our people who, to this day, live off of the land and coexist with the great Porcupine Caribou Herd the way our ancestors did
20,000 years ago.
Caribou Logo

Caribou on the Porcupine River - Photo by Rae Moses
Range of the Porcupine Caribou Herd The Vuntut Gwitchin is the name of our people which in our language means “people of the lakes.” We live in the northernmost community of Old Crow located 128 km (80 miles ) north of the Arctic Circle at the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine Rivers in Canada’s Yukon Territory. We the Vuntut Gwitchin are one of 19 communities spread out across the US State of Alaska, and the Canadian territories of the Yukon and western Northwest Territory. These 19 villages and cities are inhabited by over 7500 people which together form a nation of people: the Gwitchin Nation. 

Strategically placed by Gwitchin elders to overlap with the seasonal migration routes of the 150,000 to 180,000 strong Porcupine Caribou Herd (so-called because of the herd’s crossing of the Porcupine River during its fall and spring migrations) the Gwitchin villages still depend on this magnificent herd for food, clothing, and various crafts. The Porcupine caribou are the centre of Gwitchin culture. 

Caribou Crossing

The caribou wades the creek in silence. 
Through the river, rocks and barely a ripple
marks the caribou passage.
The caribou travelling through north woods 
of blue greens.
The caribou travel through a Land covered
with rich pouring of sun ripened
berries of different kinds. 
Caribou crossing through weaves 
of brilliant green colour leaves.
Plush, cool grass.
Caribou galloping through the rivers
and across the plains
The caribou roams the mountains,
covered with carpets of flowers
through the cool summers.
A tranquil window of fleeting sunlight;
after a gray floating
neither ready to concede 
to the slowly clearing clean blue sky.
Nights are turning chill
winter’s gentle sun....
The caribou roam the country by the thousands,
thundering hooves across the mountains.
~Nancy Flitt, Old Crow~

T he Vuntut Gwitchin of Old Crow make up a 
community of approximately 300 people. A 
community with no road access to the rest of the 
world, one can only reach this village by boat 
in the summer, snow machine in the winter, or 
plane year-round. 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. 

The land of the Vuntut Gwitchin is the land 
of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Each spring 
(April / May) and autumn (August / September) 
the caribou pass through the lands of the Vuntut 
Gwitchin - north to the arctic coastal plain to 
calve in the summer months and south of Old 
Crow in the autumn to its wintering range. We 
set up camps out on the land and hunt the 
caribou, which we then take back to our camps 
to prepare. 

Dougie Charlie Hunting Caribou


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