The Taku River runs from the interior of British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, passing through the Alaskan panhandle, just south of Juneau. Our people have lived in the fertile lands around the river for thousands of years. Our ancient Tlingit (meaning “the people”) ancestors gave the Taku River its name. Our forebears have identified themselves with the Taku River and its life-sustaining source, and we still respectfully bear its name.
Our tribal government is the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN). The TRTFN is governed in the consensus driven Tlingit Clan System, each member of the TRTFN has an opportunity and an obligation to participate in the decision making process of our people. The TRTFN Wolf and Crow moieties, work in concert to protect our territory and help bring opportunity to our people. As is the case with most First Nations (native bands) in Canada, the federal government and the British Columbia provincial government are in the process of negotiating with TRTFN concerning our land question in our Traditional Territory.
Our people primarily live in Atlin, a lovely town on the shores of Atlin Lake in Northern British Columbia, just south of the Yukon Territory on the shores of Atlin Lake. Atlin is about 80 km (50 miles) from the best salmon runs on the Taku River, where we catch our salmon. For thousands of years, our people have walked the unroaded trails from Atlin to the river in the spring, returning in the fall with salmon that has been dried and smoked, for their families to enjoy during the long winter. You can learn more about our people and government at www.trtfn.com.
Through Taku Wild we have found a way to share the gifts of the Taku region with the world, and help us to preserve our home, our land, and our culture.
Our home is this land. Our spirits, lives, and hearts have been shaped here, and we will care for our land just as our ancestors have instructed us. The 5 million acres of the Taku River Basin contain the lakes, streams and tributaries that feed into the mighty Taku River. This network of lakes and streams comprise the largest and most pristine watershed in North America, and one of the last healthy watersheds of this size in the world. What’s unique about the Taku River basin is that the tributaries that feed the river span so much pristine land. It is rare that so many tributaries covering so much land would feed into one river system. It is important to keep all of the Taku River basin free from shortsighted harmful development that would pollute any part of the river, as the impact would affect the entire river system.
The Taku River basin encompasses five biogeoclimatic zones, ranging from high plateaus to lush coastal temperate rainforests and is rich with wildlife, including caribou, moose, bears, mountain goats, mountain sheep, a variety of migratory birds, and all five species of pacific salmon. In recent years, we have worked with Round River Conservation Studies to map out the patterns of wildlife throughout the territory, so that this information can be integrated into our land planning. We catch salmon each summer, as they swim upriver to spawn. The TRTFN has its own Fisheries Department that works closely and cooperatively with both Canadian and Alaskan agencies and conservation organizations to ensure the viability of wild salmon stocks. Due to this close collaboration the Taku River has been spared from the downturn in Sockeye and Coho stocks that is evident in many other watersheds throughout North America.
Atlin is the one developed town in our traditional territory. Surrounded by lush wilderness and stunning mountain views, Atlin sits on the edge of Atlin Lake in Northern British Columbia. From Atlin you can enjoy the bounty of the Taku River basin, walk mountain trails, take a scenic floatplane tour of the Taku River, enjoy fishing or a romantic houseboat stay on Atlin Lake, or simply sit back in a comfortable chair and take in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Atlin also has several centers for artists and writers that offer retreats and workshops throughout the year. Should you have a chance to come for a visit, Atlin has a variety of accommodations and activities to suit you and your family. Atlin is a picturesque two-hour drive from the Whitehorse YT airport.