Moosehide Gathering 2018
In the late 1800s, the Hän peoples' ways of life were threatened when an influx of settlers came into their territory during the time of the Gold Rush. Chief Isaac recognized these uncertainties and dangers, so he sent the gänhäk (dancing stick) and his community's traditional songs and dances to his relatives in the Tanacross village in Alaska. These songs were kept safe and sacred for decades until the Hän people were ready to reclaim them as their own again.
Since the 1990s, these songs and dances have slowly been coming back into the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in community.
Moosehide Village is on the bank of the Yukon River, only accessible by boat ride or hike. It's the very spot Chief Isaac moved his people to, escaping the surge of gold seekers, and is the place where the gathering is held every two years.
This year, at Moosehide's 14th gathering, Alaskan relatives of the Hän people attended, spending time with the Hän people and a community dance group to re-teach these songs and dances.
At this Moosehide gathering, the Tanacross and Hän people came together to perform these traditional songs together for the public for the first time.
The main downtown core of Dawson still highlights the history of the Gold Rush; a time of economic expansion, (for some), but also an era of destruction, colonialism and cultural loss. But just downstream, this gathering shows the vibrant life and culture that continues to strengthen, grow and thrive, despite decades of attempts to destroy it.
The energy at Moosehide is different. It’s calm and welcoming in the village, old wooden cabins line the bank along the river, children run freely throughout the grass. The smell of the sacred fire competes with the smell of fresh bannock and tea, complementing each other perfectly.
This video is a small glimpse of what the weekend was like at Moosehide.
Created by Sidney Weiss.