October 18th is Tahltan Day, the 112th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of the Tahltan Tribe. Today is an important day for the Tahltan Nation, a day to celebrate Tahltan culture, tradition, language, resiliency and independence. As the business arm of the Tahltan Nation with a large percentage of Tahltan employees, Tahltan Day holds special significance for TNDC. TNDC recognizes Tahltan Day as a statutory holiday and it is also recognized as a statutory holiday on many of the worksites of Tahltan industry partners as part of their Impact Benefit Agreements.
Today provides an excellent opportunity to remind our clients and partners about TNDC’s relationship with the Tahltan Nation, and to share the history of Tahltan Day and the Tahltan people. We invite everyone to join TNDC and the Tahltan Nation in commemorating Tahltan Day.
TNDC operations are guided by two important decrees that affirm Tahltan title and rights, ownership and sovereignty over Tahltan Territory and establish guiding principles that resource developers must adhere to when operating within Tahltan territory.
Tahltan culture is intricately woven into all aspects of language, art, governance, law and everyday life. Our stories and legends preserve our history and guide our way of relating to all living things. As an example, our stories provide inspiration to talented Tahltan artists, who enshrine our stories into beautiful moccasins, drums, blankets, and other valuables. These are just some of the ways in which Tahltan culture is preserved and shared with the world.
Our culture is organized through a matrilinear clan system. This means that crests and inheritance are passed down through the mother. Since time immemorial, this system has provided the basis of Tahltan law and governance. Despite the imposition of a settler society form of government (through the Indian Act), the matrilineal system remains the foundational governing structure of the Tahltan people.
The Tahltan Nation is divided into two clans, the Crow (or Tsesk’iya) and the Wolf (or Ch’ioyone). Each clan is further divided into several family groups. Legends about the Crow and Raven continue to guide the Tahltan people about the best way of living, for example, by the principles of determination, generosity and resourcefulness among others.
Tahltan Territory is 95,933 km². If the Tahltan Nation were its own country, we would be bigger than Portugal and slightly smaller than South Korea. The territory is rich in natural resources and continues to garner international attention for its mineral potential and abundant wildlife.
The north/western border runs parallel to the Alaskan/Canadian border and includes part of Yukon Territory. The south/eastern border includes the upper Nass tributaries and western half of the Stikine plateau, including the sacred headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena rivers.
Tahltans currently make up over half of the residents in Tahltan territory, dispersed between three main communities: Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and Iskut. 85% of Tahltans live outside of territory in these modern times with approximately 4,500/5,000 Tahltans in many areas of BC and Alberta.
You can learn more about the Tahltan Nation, people and territory, including links to the websites of our three Shareholders (Tahltan Central Government, Tahltan Band and Iskut Band). Visit Tahltan Nation section on our website.