The Council of Yukon First Nations was originally formed as the ‘Council for Yukon Indians’ in 1973 specifically to negotiate land claims. By 1980, in response to the need for unity among Yukon First Nations and the settlement of land claims, the two parent organizations, the Yukon Native Brotherhood and the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians, as well as the CYI had amalgamated to form the Council for Yukon Indians. In 1995, the Council adopted a new constitution and in keeping with the language of the times, changed its name to the Council of Yukon First Nations.
The Council is formed under the Societies Act of the Yukon and operates under a constitution which has been adopted by its member First Nations at a General Assembly. At present, the CYFN is made up of the following Yukon First Nations: the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Teslin Tlingit Council, the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Selkirk First Nation, the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, the Kluane First Nation, and the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. Four other First Nations in the Yukon Territory, the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Liard First Nation, Kwanlin Dun First Nation, White River First Nation and Ross River Dena Council have chosen to work independently of CYFN at the present time. Currently, nine of the member First Nations of CYFN have reached land claims and self-government agreements (those first nine listed above).
At the Annual General Assembly in 2004, CYFN welcomed four First Nations from the Mackenzie River Delta region into its organization: the Tetlit Gwich’in Council, the Nihtat Gwich’in Council, the Ehdiitat Gwich’in Council and the Gwichya Gwich’in Council.
The Council of Yukon First Nations have been in existence since 1973 and continue to serve the needs of First Nations within the Yukon and the MacKenzie delta. The Council of Yukon First Nations plays an important role in intergovernmental relations on behalf of Yukon First Nations as our mandate is to serve as a political advocacy organization for First Nations holding traditional territories, in the Yukon to protect their rights, titles and interests.