Yukon River: Spreading the Word
Yukon storytelling tradition welcomes the world
Yukon aboriginals have a rich, unwritten history. Archeologists believe the
Yukon and Alaskan regions may be the oldest continuously-inhabited region of
North America. But, until recently, history was passed from generation to
generation only through the ancient art of storytelling.
Storytelling was an important part of life and many hours were spent telling the myths
and histories of this part of the world. Stories were a way of teaching and entertaining;
it was also a means of passing on traditions, values and attitudes about the nature of
The Yukon storytelling tradition is expressed each summer through an international storytelling
festival in Whitehorse. Storytellers from Yukon First Nations join others from Russia,
Europe, Japan, China and Australia to entertain and educate under tents set up on the banks
of the Yukon River.
One tale by well-known First Nation storyteller, Angela Sidney, is called Skookum Jim's
Frog Helper and describes how the Tagish prospector was guided to gold discovery that set
off the Klondike Stampede a century ago.
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