The White River First Nation has withdrawn from the Council of Yukon First Nations, a central organization for First Nations in the territory.

In a press release, White River Chief Charlie Eikland Jr. said the First Nation is committed to an ongoing working relationship with CYFN on issues where they have common interests, but that there are unique issues White River has with the Crown the band needs to focus on.

"CYFN does an excellent job of forwarding the interests of Yukon First Nations who have signed land claim agreements but in many cases WRFN has to approach these issues with a different perspective," he said in the press release.

White River First Nation has not signed a land claim agreement with Canada and Yukon.

Council Grand Chief Ruth Massie said she is shocked that White River has chosen to separate.


Ruth Massie, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, said she is shocked at the news. (CBC)

"They have decided to look after their own community priorities and, of course, that affects our table when we are striving for unity of all the First Nations at our leadership table. But we have to respect the community’s decision to do that, but it is pretty disappointing," she said.

Even though the First Nation has left the organization, Massie said CYFN's doors will remain open to all.

Ten of the 14 Yukon First Nations now sit at the council table as members.

Massie said it will be business-as-usual at the council. She said hopefully one day, all non-members will have a change of heart.