Peel Watershed Portrait Exhibit in Whitehorse
July 30, 2018, Whitehorse – The Peel Watershed Portrait Exhibit is showing at the Yukon Arts Centre from August 1-30, with an opening reception from 5-7 pm on August 1. The exhibit is a collaboration between the Yukon Conservation Society, CPAWS Yukon, the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dün, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the Teetl’it Gwich’in Council, and features some of the many people whose lives are intertwined with the Peel Watershed.
For the exhibit, interviews and photoshoots were conducted in the four communities surrounding the Peel Watershed – Mayo, Dawson City, Old Crow, and Teetl’it Zheh (Fort McPherson) – and Whitehorse. After being shown in Ottawa and the Peel communities, the exhibit is now coming to Whitehorse. It features short excerpts from individual interviews alongside photographs by Cathie Archbould and Peter Mather.
“Not many people understand the importance of the land, ecosystems, and the animals on humanity’s well-being. The people of the North live and breathe this reality,” said Cathie Archbould, the exhibit’s portrait photographer.
“It is pretty hard to go into the Peel and not come back with special images,” said Peter Mather, the exhibit’s landscape photographer. “My hope is always that my work will inspire people from all walks of life to visit and cherish the watershed, its adventures and its people.”
The Peel Watershed is within the traditional territories of the First Nation of Na Cho Nyäk Dün, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the Teetl’it Gwich’in Council in the neighbouring Northwest Territories. For generations, these First Nations have relied on the watershed for both physical and cultural sustenance. The exhibit highlights some of the many people who care for the land and have fought to protect it.
In recent years, the watershed’s future has been at stake during a lengthy legal battle over the land use planning process. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Yukon government must complete meaningful final consultations on a land use plan that protects 80% of the watershed. Since that decisive ruling, the Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s Final Recommended Plan has been under review by the Yukon government. Yukoners will have the opportunity to comment on the final plan during the final consultation period, which is expected to take place in the coming months. Dates have not yet been announced.
The Whitehorse showing of the exhibit is dedicated to the memory of CPAWS Yukon’s founding Executive Director, Juri Peepre. Juri was the driving force behind the early public campaign to protect the Peel Watershed and his legacy will live on through the protection of the lands that he loved so much.
This exhibition is also meant to express eternal gratitude to everyone from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and around the world who has poured passion, time and energy into protecting the Peel Watershed – especially the people of Na Cho Nyäk Dün, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the Teetl’it Gwich’in Council.
The Peel Watershed Portrait Exhibit is free to the public and open Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 12 pm to 5 pm, August 1-30. Yukoners are encouraged to view the exhibit all month and share their own stories and images on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ProtectPeel.
[Photo of Dorothy Alexie and Bobbi Rose Koe by Cathie Archbould]
Julia Duchesne, Yukon Conservation Society
Outreach & Communications Director
Adil Darvesh, CPAWS Yukon