Teslin Tlingit people are Inland Tlingit, who journeyed from the coast of southeast Alaska to the interior plains of the Yukon in the early 18th Century. Until the formation of permanent settlements with the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942, Teslin Tlingit people practiced a semi-nomadic subsistence life of fishing, hunting, and gathering. Hunting and gathering continue to play a large role in Teslin Tlingit culture, and today Elders pass on traditional knowledge to Tlingit youth through harvest camps.
Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) Citizenship is based on blood lineage and traditional custom, and does not follow the Federal Government’s definition of ‘Status’. At present, there are approximately 800 Citizens, 300 of which live in the Village of Teslin, 300 in Whitehorse, and 200 elsewhere in North America. For information on Citizenship Registration, visit our Citizenship page.
The Tlingit language is distantly related to Eyak, an extinct language from the Alaskan coast. Today, Tlingit is spoken in the Yukon communities of Teslin and Carcross, in the Atlin area of British Columbia, and in coastal settlements stretching along the Alaskan panhandle from Yakutat to Ketchikan. Given the geographic range of the language, there is relatively little dialect diversity and all speakers can generally understand each other.
Through the Heritage Department, TTC offers Tlingit language and culture programs which foster language learning in Teslin Tlingit youth, set-up mentorship arrangements for advanced learners, and present opportunities for the sharing of Tlingit language skills within traditional contexts.