- Oct 2021
The reality of the history of Canada’s mining industry makes #SquidGame look like child’s play.
“The truth is that all of the gold that was mined out of the Klondike was under Indigenous land. There was no treaty with any of the Indigenous peoples in the Yukon.”
“That land was stolen by the Canadian state and that gold was whisked away by private interests. The Federal Government only signed land claims with Indigenous peoples in the Yukon in the 1990s, but by that point, almost all the gold had been mined out of the ground.”
“The Klondike gold rush was a rolling disaster that captured tens of thousands of people. When the first European explorers came to the Americas, they came here looking for gold. In the 1890s, that lust for precious metals eventually led men to the farthest reaches of this continent.”
“Today, instead of 100,000 people descending on a small patch of land, you have large corporations digging treasures out of the ground. But the legacies these mining operations leave behind are just like what happened in the Klondike: workers with broken bodies, environmental destruction, the dispossession of Indigenous land, sexual violence. The gold rushes never stopped. They just morphed into something different.”
- May 2017
Yukon Gold Company
The Yukon Gold Company was a gold mining company during the late 19th century, extending into the 20th century. The Yukon Gold Company was a major player in the Klondike, or Yukon, Gold Rush. When the Klondike Gold Rush began, most of the mining was performed by hand. In order to create dredges, placer gold mining machines that extract gold from sand or dirt using water and mechanical methods, miners had to find financial support (Gates). The major mining companies during the early 1900s were the Yukon Gold Company and the Canadian Klondike Mining Company. These companies merged into the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation (YCGC), or “The Company,” in 1923. By 1934, The Company was operating five dredges (Bostock). As the YCGC expanded, individuals created smaller mini gold rushes along the Indian and Stewart Rivers. During the 1930s, the general manager of the YCGC planned to expand the company by adding three additional dredges and new support facilities (Yukon Consolidated Gold Company Limited). The YCGC was largely successful in the 1930s due to the prevalence of cheap labor and materials, but the beginning of World War II quickly stunted this growth. The price of gold dropped significantly and the YCGC only briefly recovered to their pre-war prices in the late 1940s. The price of labor and materials increased until the YCGC stopped operation in 1966. Images of the gold dregs can be found below.
References: Bostock, H. S. "The Mining Industry of Yukon, 1934." Canada Department of Mines Geological Survey, 2387th ser. (1935). Accessed May 03, 2017. http://yukondigitallibrary.ca/Publications/MiningIndustryYukon1934/Mining%20Industry%20of%20Yukon%201934.pdf
"Fonds yuk-971 - The Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation Limited fonds." The Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation Limited fonds - Alberta On Record. Accessed May 03, 2017. https://albertaonrecord.ca/yukon-consolidated-gold-corporation-limited-fonds.
Gates, Michael. Yukon News. September 02, 2011. Accessed May 03, 2017. http://www.yukon-news.com/letters-opinions/when-the-monster-machines-ruled-the-creeks
The Yukon Territory is a small, western Canadian territory with a rich history, including records dating back to 10,000 years go. In the Yukon Territory, there are a variety of languages spoken including Vunut Gwitchin, Han, Tutchone, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Upper Tanana, Kaska, Tagish, and Tlingit (Pinnacle Travel). Another small ethnic group that is French-speaking remains from those who migrated from the Gold Rush. In the late 1700s, the Yukon became a major trading area between Tlingit and other Yukon people (Government of Yukon). In 1852, Tlingit traders pushed the Hudson Bay Company out of the Yukon in 1852. In 1886, a trading post was established at the Stewart River and coarse gold was found at the Fortymile River and the Yukon Gold Rush began. In 1898, the Yukon Territory Act was passed to consider the Yukon as separate from the North-West Territories, with Dawson City as its capital. In 1972, Elijah Smith and some of the Yukon First Nations tribe went to Ottawa seeking land claims. The final agreement, The Umbrella Agreement, was signed in 1993 and was signed by the governments of Canada and Yukon and the Council of Yukon First Nations. The Yukon First Nations’ final land claim was complete in 1995. In 2003, the Devolution Transfer Agreement was passed, allowing the Yukon government more control over provincial programming and powers.
References: "Government of Yukon." History - Government of Yukon- Government of Yukon. January 5, 2015. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://www.gov.yk.ca/aboutyukon/history.html.
"Pinnacle Marketing Management Inc." Pinnacle Travel. Accessed May 07, 2017. https://www.pinnacle-travel.org/yukon-culture-history/.