Yukon First Nation to Will and Kate: Help us strengthen our relationship with the Crown
Carcross/Tagish First Nation looking for recognition as royals visit
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued their Yukon visit Wednesday afternoon in Carcross, where they experienced some Indigenous culture and absorbed some stunning scenery.
Prince William and Kate were also given some food for thought from a local First Nation leader.
Andy Carvill, Khà Shâde Héni (chief) of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, greeted the royals at a traditional welcome ceremony. He told the Duke and Duchess his community has seen difficult times in the past, but has been working to turn things around.
Part of that has involved asserting self-government rights, he said, and fighting for recognition. "We ask you to help us continue to build that relationship with the Crown," he said to the royals.
Peter Johnston, the grand chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, said Carvill's message "was very clear."
"We, as Yukon First Nations that have settled our self-government agreements, need the support to help implement our agreements," Johnston said. "We're still struggling just to get recognition."
Carvill also presented Prince William with a gift: a carved totem pole by local artist Keith Wolfe Smarch.
The royals then visited Smarch's carving shed, where they were asked to paint a small portion of a totem pole that will ultimately go outside the community's learning centre.
One local elder, Annie Auston, reminisced about being a child in Carcross and seeing a picture of the King and Queen on the wall at the Skookum Jim House, a friendship centre.
"I remember, as a little girl, I used to look at them ... I remember that our people really thought a lot about the royals at that point," she said.
Seeing William and Kate now walk through her community was "really something," she said.
Carcross was the royals' last stop in Yukon before flying back to B.C. on Wednesday afternoon — and it was likely their most action-packed.
After the official welcome ceremony from the First Nation, they were whisked off to nearby Montana Mountain to see its famed mountain-biking trails, then back down to the village, where they took a walk through the picturesque community and had an up-close look at a historic steam locomotive.
With files from Cheryl Kawaja