TESLIN (population estimated 450)
George Johnston Museum
Teslin, the gateway to the Southern Lakes Region provides a bounty of unique northern cultural history, lifestyle and stories. Teslin Lake, Dawson Peaks, the Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area, Nisutlin and Teslin Rivers provide endless adventure and excitement. Driving through Teslin without at least a few days stay is a major mistake.
Teslin is home to the Tlingit First Nations people who migrated inland through the Taku River from Alaskan coastal areas from 200-300 years ago. Many trace their lineage to the Juneau/Auk Bay area. Fur trading to the coast was the original economy. The Teslin Tlingit traditional lifestyle still follows the movement of fish and game and the harvest of plants and berries today. The traditional clan and potlatch system is still alive and well today and the Teslin people govern themselves through five clans, a Council and Chief.
Pot latching remains an integral component in the lifestyle of the Teslin people, as do traditional values and belief systems. Elders are held in high esteem, remain fundamental to the Tlingit governance system and provide the wisdom and knowledge of the original ways.
Teslin people speak an entirely different language from the Athapaskan spoken by other Yukon First Nations people. Teslin people are closely related to the Tlingit people of Atlin and a system of trails used prior to the Alaska Highway for mail and supplies is still evident between both communities, which are part of the Da Kah Nation. Teslin was a summer place until churches, a school, a trading post and a paddle-wheeler dock appeared. Thereafter, more people began settling year round. The Alaska Highway arrived in 1942.
Today, tourism and traditional subsistence hunting and gathering are important aspects of Teslin life. Forestry and renewable resources, highways, and government provide work in the area.
Teslin offers extravagant lake and mountain scenery, prize fishing and hunting, hiking, horseback riding and boating experiences of a lifetime, a small marina and summer restaurant specialties. There are three museums; George Johnston Museum, the Yukon Wildlife Gallery and the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre. The Heritage Center provides unique opportunities to learn about the past and to re-experience it today with the Tlingit people. Some of the Yukon’s most renowned aboriginal carvers live and work in Teslin.
Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre at 867 390-2532 Gunalchish Village of Teslin office at 867 399-2530 Thank You