Wolf Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie




Caribou Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie
Caribou Logo

LIFE ON THE FLATS

Caribou Logo

Crow Flats - Parks Canada Photo The Old Crow Flats are located north of Old Crow 75 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle and 110 kilometers south of the Beaufort Sea. The Flats are almost completely surrounded by mountains; the Richardson Mountains to the east, the British and Barns ranges to the north, and the Crow Mountains to the south west. The land area of Crow Flats is 6,170 square kilometers and is comprised of more than 2000 small lakes, ponds, and marshes. The northern portion of Crow Flats is located within Vuntut National Park.

Each family group in Old Crow has their own trapping area in Crow Flats. This area is referred to by each family as "their" or "my country" and is passed down from generation to generation. One of these trapping areas belongs to the Kwatlatyi (Kassi) Family.
We travel with Danny and Tracy Kassi and family as they head to their country in Crow Flats.

Part 1 - Moving to Crow Flats - Photos taken April 19, 2002

With loaded toboggans, Kassi family members gather in front of Danny and Tracy Kassi's home in Old Crow. From here they will begin their trip to Crow Flats for the annual Muskrat trapping season.

The Kassi Yard in Old Crow The Muskrat trapping season in Crow Flats begins in mid April and ends June 15. During this time the Kassi family will remain at their camp in Crow Flats. In Crow Flats there is no electricity or running water. As well, communication with areas outside of Crow Flats is limited to a battery operated AM radio and a satelite phone to be used in medical emergencies. They are able to pick up KZPA radio in Fort Yukon, Alaska and CBQM radio in Fort McPherson, NWT.
If you would like to send a message or song request to the Kassi family, you can do so by telephone: KZPA (907) 662-8255 or CBQM (867) 952-2371.

Toboggans Loaded and Ready to Go The Kassi camp is located on the southern end of Crow Flats 60 kilometers north of Old Crow. Travel to their camp is by snowmobile and takes 3-4 hours, depending on the weather. Severe blizzard and white-out conditions can occur on the Crow Mountains. This is the mountain range they will travel over before descending down onto the Flats.

Moving Out Equipment - All camp equipment, food items, and trapping gear is hauled to Crow Flats on toboggans pulled behind snowmobiles.

Rampart House to Crow Flats In traditional times, travel to Crow Flats was made by dog team. The photo to the left, shows dog teams hauling equipment and supplies from Rampart House to Crow Flats. Thornwaite Collection, 1926-1932.

Rest break on the Crow Mountains Food items to take include, flour, baking powder, sugar, tea, coffee, powdered milk and juice, rice, instant dried potatoes, oats, pasta, caribou, beef, pork, eggs, and numerous types of canned fruits and vegetables.

Tracy Kassi and 7 year old April Tracy and April

Jack gets to ride in a cardboard box in the toboggan!

Camp equipment needed includes, canvas wall tents, wood fired tent stoves (for cooking and for heat), eiderdown sleeping blankets, ch'ah (caribou skin sleeping mat), axes, saw, spare snowmobile parts and tools, and cooking pots and dishes. A Conoe for when the ice goes on the lakes in Crow Flats

Kecia Kassi - age 11 Hunting and trapping equipment includes traps, muskrat pelt stretchers, ice chisels, spade shovel, dipper, rifle and ammunition, and skinning knives.

Muskrat trapping will begin almost immediately upon arrival at their camp. This will be one of their main sources of fresh meat until the caribou travel through on their summer migration to the calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Other sources of fresh meat include, fish, moose, ptarmigan, and arctic hare.


Part 1 - Moving to Crow Flats
Part 2 - Life in Crow Flats
Part 3 - Moving Back to Old Crow