The Gwich’in have traditionally used and occupied lands in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon from time immemorial. In July 1921, Chiefs and headmen representing the Loucheux (as we were then called) of Arctic Red River (now Tsiigehtchic) and Fort McPherson (also known as Teetl'it Zheh) signed Treaty 11 with King George V (the Crown), creating a special nation-to-nation relationship.
Established in 1992, the Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) is an indigenous organization that represents Gwich’in Participants in the Mackenzie-Delta of the Northwest Territories and across Canada. The objectives of the GTC are to:
- Protect and preserve the rights, interest and benefits of the Gwich’in in reference to their use, ownership and management of lands, waters, and resources in the Gwich’in Settlement Area;
- Retain, preserve and enhance the traditional and cultural values, customs and language of the Gwich’in in a changing society;
- Develop and promote economic, social, educational and cultural programs that will enable the Gwich’in to become self-sufficient and full participating members in a global society;
- Uphold the rights, interest and benefits of the Gwich’in in reference to the Constitution Act, Treaty 11 and the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement; and
- Receive, preserve and enhance the capital and the lands and other benefits transferred to the Gwich’in pursuant to the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement signed on April 22, 1992.
The GTC accomplishes these objectives through various wholly-owned organizations such as the Gwich’in Settlement Corporation and the Gwich’in Development Corporation.