Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

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Forty Mile: Anglican Church

Buxton Mission at Forty Mile, 1895.

Buxton Mission at Forty Mile, 1895.

Yukon Archives, Anglican Church of Canada/General Synod Archives Coll., 78/67, #4.
Reverend John Hawksley, his family and an unidentified First Nations woman at Buxton Island, August 1901. In 1914, Hawksley became the Yukon’s first Indian Agent.

Reverend John Hawksley, his family and an unidentified First Nations woman at Buxton Island, August 1901. In 1914, Hawksley became the Yukon’s first Indian Agent.

Library and Archives Canada, PA-017052

About 200 Miners have passed the present winter in this immediate vicinity, in British Territory. The Indians have learned from them to make whiskey for themselves, and there has been drunkenness of Whites and Indians together with much danger of the use of firearms.

Bishop Bompas, Forty Mile, to Chief Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, 1893

Buxton Mission, named for a British benefactor, was started in 1887 by Anglican missionary J.W. Ellington on Mission Island just upstream of Forty Mile. Ellington left the country due to poor health and the mission was abandoned for two years. Bishop William Carpenter Bompas first visited Forty Mile in 1891 then returned the following year with his wife, Charlotte Selina Bompas, to set up his headquarters on Mission Island. Together they began the Yukon’s first mission school.

Over the next decade, Bompas was a strong voice on behalf of First Nations people. He wrote many letters to government officials protesting the social ills that came with the introduction of alcohol. He later worked to protect First Nations interests when their land was taken over for mining and settlements, and their prime fishing spots were usurped by the newcomers.