Dignitaries and elders gather after the signing.

On August 22, 2019, the regional plan for the Peel Watershed was approved by all five Parties: Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and the Yukon. Hundreds of people gathered in Mayo for the festivities, many attending a signing and water ceremony on the shore of the Stewart River. This marks the second regional plan to be approved under chapter 11 of Yukon’s Final Agreements, and a milestone for reconciliation in the Yukon.

We were pleased to see two former members of the Peel Watershed Planning Commission there seeing through their plan. Congratulations to the Commission, the Parties, and all the organizations and individuals who provided their information, priorities and opinions. Pearl Callaghan, our outgoing Chair, had this to say:

A beaded plan cover

First and foremost, Congratulations to all the individuals who put the plan together, namely the Commission (Dave Loeks, Ray Hayes, Peter J. Kaye, Steve Taylor, Connie Buyck, Robert Bruce Jr., Sam Wallingham, Albert Genier, Marvin Frost, Abe Wilson, Kenn Roberts) and the Commission’s and Council’s staff (Brian Johnston, Reg Whiten, Sam Skinner, Nadele Flynn, Richard Vladars, Ron Cruikshank, Shawn Francis, Jeff Hamm, Gerald Isaac, Kathleen Zimmer, Heidi Hansen and others). Thank you for your hard work.

There are many lessons we can learn from this process to improve fulfilling land claims and stay out of the courts. “When planning, have your children’s face in front of you as you do your work”.  This means not acting in your own interests, but in the interests of our children in a responsible and respectful way. To do this, consider these “C” words:  Creator, Children, Creation, Caring, Communication, Consultation, Co-operation, Constructive, Correct and Consensus.

One of my goals as Chair was to see another regional plan be approved. I am so very pleased this happened!

Pearl Callaghan, outgoing Chair, Yukon Land Use Planning Council


The Council helped establish the Peel Watershed Planning Commission in 2004, and provided administrative and technical support while the Commission operated until 2011. While we didn’t have a role in the recent approval, we did assist in locating and updating some documents and maps.