June 21st remains a significant day for a great many people in Canada as the long daylight of the Summer Solstice transits into its next seasonal phase. A sense of time, mortality, humility and gratitude, often accompanies this pivotal day, especially for the people living in Canada’s North. June 21st also marks National Indigenous Peoples Day since 1996. It’s a special occasion and opportunity to learn more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as they celebrating their heritage.
On this celebrated day of June 21st, 2022, the Tr’ondek Hwech’s First Nation received a gift from their ancestral lands with the unearthing of a baby woolly mammoth at a remote Klondike Placer mine site under the astute eye of an excavator operator. The operator, Travis” couldn’t believe what he had unearthed, and to this day is overwhelmed with emotion when speaking about it.
During the next several hours, Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nations Elders, a plethora of scientists, and the entire mine site crew and owners stood by in awe and wonderment. The sky’s literally opened up with rain, wind, lighting and thunder as Nun cho ga came back into the world with all the energy of the natural world by her side.
Nun ch ga, “big animal baby”, in the traditional Han language, made her entry back into the world after being mummified in an icy layer of Steppe sediment estimated to be 35000 years old. She’s been nearly perfectly mummified in the frozen Klondike Gold Fields and has retained her soft tissue, hair, toenails and internal organs, offering evidence of the ancient flora that sustained her during her brief life.
For now, Nun cho ga will remain where she is, on the traditional territory of the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin, as scientists and the First Nations people continue to work cooperatively, balancing the cultural significance of her place in the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin community, and the scientific community.
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“Trapper Dan your Renaissance Man”