Arts, Culture and Heritage
The Dänojà Zho Cultural Center celebrates the heritage of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. These descendants of the Hän-speaking people have lived along the Yukon River for millennia; the preservation of the heritage, language and culture of this self-governing First Nation is central to their current administrative processes. This is overseen by the heritage department of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.
"For Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, ideas are traditionally carried within Dǟ’òle’ (“the law” or “the way it is”). Dǟ’òle’ shows people how to live in a good way— in harmony and balance with each other and the land."
~ Jen Laliberte, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department
The rich arts, culture and heritage of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are expressed through community feasts, Moosehide Gatherings, First Hunts and various cultural events, and includes all community members.
Many of Dawson’s community members themselves are an eclectic group of amateur and professional art producers, event and festival organizers, dancers, musicians, film producers, and performing and visual artists.
And, the community is always bustling in one corner or another, with many special interest groups keeping folks active and involved throughout the year. Key organizations include the Dawson City Arts Society (DCAS), the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture (KIAC), The Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF), and the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) and The Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA).
The ODD Gallery hosts local and international artists and McCaulay House boasts an Artist-in-Residence program that hosts writers, musicians and film makers who have long to put the quill to quire (camera to sky, voice to mic...) under the famous Northern Lights.
Famous authors found inspiration in Dawson City: Robert Service, Jack London and Pierre Berton to name a few. You can still visit the homes these artists occupied, most notably, the Berton House, currently used as a Writer’s Retreat.
There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
Robert Service, The Spell of the Yukon 1916
Alongside this vibrant community are a continuous stream of musical and artistic events: the Dawson City Music Festival in July, the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival in August, and the International Short Film Festival in April, just to name a few.
Klondike Visitors Association
Provides detailed information on getting to Dawson City, and further, including the famous Dempster Highway, and Alaska via the Top of the World Highway.