Reconciliation Action Plan
The Yukon leads the way as the only jurisdiction in Canada with 11 self-governing First Nations, so it was important for the Host Society of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) to demonstrate leadership by acknowledging reconciliation as a goal of the Games.
The Host Society made First Nations engagement a priority during their initial meetings, creating a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in September of 2018. The RAP is led by the RAP Task Force, supported by the Community Engagement and Protocol Division, developed in consultation with Yukon First Nations and supported by senior management at the Host Society.
Key elements of the plan include:
- Ensuring Yukon First Nations are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating;
- Recognizing, respecting and celebrating Yukon First Nation languages, cultures and traditions; and
- Educating staff, Host Society members, and participants about Yukon First Nations history.
Memorandum of Understanding
As part of the RAP, a historic Memorandum of Understanding was reached between the 2020 AWG, the AWG International Committee, and Yukon First Nations in April of this year. The MOU was signed by the two Whitehorse First Nations, the Kwanlin Dün and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, as well as the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN). Since the initial signing in April 2019 , Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation (Old Crow) and Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation (Mayo) have signed on as well.
It was the first time that an MOU had been developed between Yukon First Nations and an Arctic Winter Games Host Society, and the MOU speaks specifically to Number 91 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (2015):
We call upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the… [Arctic Winter Games] …to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events;
The MOU aspires to: afford Yukon First Nations youth, elders and communities the opportunity to volunteer for the Games; recognize and celebrate Yukon First Nations languages, cultures and traditions; and create the opportunity for Yukon First Nations Elders to function as advisors for all youth at Games-time.