TAGISH (Population 232)
Tagish means ‘break up (of ice i.g.)’ in the Tagish Athapaskan language. Today you will still find young and old fishing from the Six-Mile river bridge and see the anxious fishermen early in the spring mornings putting their boats in the river for a very exciting day of fishing. Trophy size Lake Trout are the draw and it’s not uncommon to see 30-40 pounders pulled from the icy waters.
The original village was located three miles south on the east side of Tagish Lake.
Tagish was the home of the five First Nation people who figured prominently in the Discovery of Gold in Dawson on Bonanza Creek, August 14th 1896. Skookum Jim and his nephews Patsy Henderson and his brother Dawson Charlie and sister Kate and George Carmack, Kate’s husband. This is where the recent story began and the rush was on.
The Southern Lakes water route rush to the goldfields of the Klondike created need for some management back in 1897 and the safety of six-mile River at Tagish was the location of one of the most important posts for the North-West Mounted Police. They called it Fort Sifton, after the then Minister of the Interior. A tent city developed very quickly with the sudden influx of gold seekers. Over 28,000 people registered at Fort Sifton on their way to the Klondike, outfits were inspected for safety and duties were collected by the men in Red. Fort Sifton was credited with instilling some order during this major influx of newcomers to the Interior.
At this same time the ‘people of Tagish’ were moving with the opportunities now available in Carcross.
Today, the original Tagish language is unique and closely guarded from extinction. The Tagish people were longtime middlemen in the trade between the Coastal Tlingit and the Northern Athapaskans.
Today, the Tagish Community Association and its loosely estimated 100 residents support a local recreational center in the heart of the district located on Hwy 8 known as the Carcross Tagish Road. Traditional Seminars, scheduled Pancake Breakfasts, Wellness Clinics, Coffee and Chat, Cards, Pre-school playgroup, Women’s Winter Stay Fit Program, workshops, holiday parties and dances, library and even a mobile hair dresser create an active living community in Tagish.