Clan poles outside the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Center, Yukon, Canada.

Pioneering Teslin Tlingit Council Adopts Own Justice System


The southern Yukon Teslin Tlingit Council will take its existing self-governing abilities a bit further with a historic accord to adopt its own justice system, CBC News reported.

"The Teslin Tlingit Council now has the legislative, executive and judicial powers over its self-government jurisdictions, enabling us to further enshrine the Tlingit way of life into everything we do," Teslin Tlingit Chief Peter Johnston said in a release obtained by CBC News. "We look forward to working with Canada, Yukon and our citizens to continue advancing our social, economic and constitutional visions."

Under the agreement, signed by Johnson, Canadian Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs John Duncan and Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie at a ceremony in Teslin, the Tlingit will enact its own laws in wildlife protection, control of its settlement land, zoning, adoption and other civil matters, CBC reported. A peacemaker court will be created to impose penalties and resolve disputes for legislative violations, and corrections programs and services will be set up for those sentenced in the court. Criminal law cases or federally regulated matters such as national security are not covered, CBC News said.

According to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the governments of Canada, Yukon and Yukon First Nations have been operating under the Umbrella Final Agreement, a set of land-claim and self-government agreements forged with each Yukon First Nation in 1993.

Out of 14 First Nations, 11 have entered into self-government agreements, but the Teslin Tlingit are the first ones to move on to signing administration of justice agreements, the CBC and INAC said.

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