Kwanlin Dün First Nation and funding partners officially open new Kashgêk’ building, named in honour of former Chief Johnnie Smith
WHITEHORSE, YUKON—Today, Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) Chief Doris Bill; Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; Yukon Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn; and members of Johnnie Smith’s family officially opened the new Kashgêk’ building in the McIntyre subdivision.
Kashgêk’—Johnnie Smith served as KDFN Chief for three terms between 1969 and 1988. Kashgêk’ was part of the historic delegation of Yukon Chiefs that presented Together Today for our Children Tomorrow to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, laying the foundation for the Yukon’s Final and Self-government agreements.
The new building contains Kwanlin Dün Council Chambers, an Elders lounge, a wellness room, gathering spaces, and five government departments that provide services to Citizens.
The building was designed with input from KDFN Citizens. It is shaped like a leaping fish to signify KDFN’s connection to the river and features work by KDFN artists. It also uses green technology, including a solar panel array on the building’s roof.
Construction commenced in 2020, on the 15th anniversary of KDFN self-governance. It was completed and partially opened for use in 2021. COVID-19 safety considerations delayed the official opening event.
The building was funded through a $19.3-million investment from the Government of Canada, a $6.4-million investment from the Government of Yukon, and $3.2 million from KDFN.