Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

Welcome to Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites, an online resource dedicated to exploring our history and culture.

Tr’ochëk: Chief Isaac

Chief Isaac poses on the porch of his cabin at Moosehide.

Chief Isaac poses on the porch of his cabin at Moosehide.

Yukon Archives, Anglican Church Coll., 89/42, #746.
Chief Isaac’s fish camp on Klondike Island ca. 1897.

Chief Isaac’s fish camp on Klondike Island ca. 1897.

Tappan Adney, The Klondike Stampede (UBC Press, 1994), p. 280.
Respected for his traditional knowledge, Chief Isaac often led potlatch ceremonies in other communities. Here he is shown at Fort Selkirk. L-R: Tom Edward, Chief Peter McGinty, Chief Isaac (seated), Chief Big Jonathan Campbell, Tommy Joe.

Respected for his traditional knowledge, Chief Isaac often led potlatch ceremonies in other communities. Here he is shown at Fort Selkirk. L-R: Tom Edward, Chief Peter McGinty, Chief Isaac (seated), Chief Big Jonathan Campbell, Tommy Joe.

Yukon Archives, Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Yukon fonds, 89/41, #929.

All Yukon belong to my papas. All Klondike belong my people. Long time all mine. Hills all mine, caribou all mine, moose all mine, rabbits all mine, gold all mine. White man come and take all my gold. Take millions, take more hundreds fifty millions, and blow ‘em in Seattle. Now Moosehide Injun want Christmas. Game is gone. White man kills all moose and caribou near Dawson...Moosehides hunt up Klondike, up Sixtymile, up Twentymile, but game is all gone. White man kill all.

Chief Isaac, quoted in Dawson Daily News, 16 December 1911

The most influential leader of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in was Chief Isaac. He led the Hän people from some time before the gold rush until his death in 1932. In many ways, he was a bridge between the old ways and the new. He acted as a go-between between his people and the newcomers, and later between the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Canadian government. He was skilled in the traditions of his people, but was also very interested in the different ways and technologies introduced by the newcomers. It was with his consent and cooperation that the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in moved to Moosehide.

To learn more, see the story Chief Isaac (PDF) from the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Interpretive Manual.