We are called the "Vuntut Gwitchin" meaning "People of the Lakes". We are only one group of the Gwich'in Nation, that expands across the north in Alaska, U.S.A. and the Northwest Territories in Canada. The name "Vuntut Gwitchin" derives from our annual muskrat trapping season, where we move approximate 27 miles north from Old Crow, for the months of April to June. The whole area of Crow Flats is covered by small and large lakes, thus giving our name. Each family group in Old Crow has their own trapping area, referred by each family as "their" or "my country". This is an area that has been passed down from generation to generation.
First language of the Vuntut Gwitchin is "Gwich'in", which you will see a bit more about in our Language Section.
The Vuntut Gwitchin main source of livelihood is trapping, hunting, and fishing. The Porcupine Caribou has provided our main source of meat and hide for boots, moccasins, mitts, traditional outfits, and other decorative things, for generations. Everything of the caribou is used by our people.
Lastly, the population of Old Crow is approximately three hundred people. We live in log homes, as you will see by the photos we provide in our web page. We have a store that provides our groceries and necessities, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment, a Nursing Station, Bed n' Breakfast accommodations, First Nation Office, a Skating Arena, a Youth Center, and a Community Center, where we hold our potlatches, dances and entertainment for the community.
Listen to Alaskan Gwitchin Fiddler, Bill Stevens for an example of the music played at our dances. Requires MP3 player. Download Free Player from Microsoft. Netscape users may have to download the sound file. To do this right click on the link to the sound file and choose: "Save Link As...". Save to your hard drive and then open with your player.
Enjoy the rest of our web page and maybe we'll see you sometime.
"Massi Cho" and "Gwiinzii Edik'anaantii" which means when translated, "Thank
you very much and Take good care of yourself".