New Shelter Plans Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Designs; seeks exemption from Dawson’s Gold Rush-era heritage rule – Yukon News

The new Jëje Zho Men’s Shelter will add Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditions to Dawson City’s predominantly Gold Rush-era facade.

“Are you a TH artist with an interest and ability to help us decorate the new men’s shelter under construction?” is launching a December 16 posting on the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation (THFN) website with a link to the Request for Proposals (RFP).

The RFP is issued to “Th Citizen Artists and Craftsmen for the design, fabrication, supply and installation” of exterior signage and artwork for the new men’s shelter.

Wildstone Contracting Ltd. began construction and will ramp up construction in March on the nearly $6 million shelter and transitional housing project at 1217 Second Ave.

In a telephone interview on February 8, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Director of Housing and Infrastructure Peter Marangu confirmed that the 10 units will contain a maximum of 14 beds that will be open to anyone in the Yukon who identifies as male. He said programs at existing men’s shelters in Dawson City are “overwhelmed” and nearly half of the people using the services are non-Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in members.

In the tender, the shelter will consist of three emergency reception units for men applying for the program or in need of housing without full admission, four highly supported units after admission and six transition units for more independent living which allows the person to acquire “life skills and preparation”.

Marangu said the Hän have been in the area since “time immemorial”, so it is important that the design of the building reflects their culture and heritage. He said the community envisions nature, the colors of wood and the signs and symbols that are familiar to them.

“It’s our home, and the design is very important to make us feel at home,” Marangu said. “It has to be comfortable; it should feel connected…it shouldn’t look like an institution.

The scope of work includes six distinct project categories. For example, different pieces use depictions of a crow, wolf, and king salmon, and source wood from the First Nation’s traditional territory.

“All designs must represent actual real shapes and not abstract designs,” the RFP states.

He says the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Council will review submissions and select the artwork and signage proponents that “best represent WE ARE DËNEZHU. WE LIVE TR’ËHUDÈ in the Jëje Zho context.

Marangu could not discuss the submissions during the interview. January 31 was the deadline for submitting ideas. A decision on all successful nominators will be made on February 15.

THFN applied for a heritage exemption

The Dawson City Heritage Advisory Committee usually intervenes on development projects. The new men’s shelter has been exempted from heritage rules.

A report to Dawson city council for decision last summer outlines the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in council’s demands for the development of a men’s shelter. The report references several relevant by-laws, including the Historic Town of Dawson City Design Guidelines. Attached are two letters, both signed by Marangu and dated July 9, 2021: one calling for Dawson City’s support for the men’s shelter, and the other requesting an exemption from the Heritage Age Guidelines. gold Rush.

“Currently, the guidelines do not encourage or accept the expression of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in culture and heritage in our buildings. This community building will provide shelter, healing, sanctuary, community, strength and support to those who need it most and should be warm and welcoming,” reads a letter from Marangu to Cory Bellmore, administrative director of Dawson City.

“We ask that the plans for the building be exempted from Gold Rush-era building requirements,” the letter continues, and we look forward to “participating with the City of Dawson in future heritage plans and initiatives and cultural”.

In the interview, Marangu said that the committee generally only accepts designs from the gold rush era, with a few exceptions.

The First Nation worked with Dawson City to eventually change the bylaws so that they would “recognize the existence and fundamental heritage of [Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in] in this area” about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s future plans, Marangu said. Currently, the bylaws do not provide different channels for First Nations projects to be designed on their own terms.

“They are willing to work with us so that we can find a way to all work together to share both heritage and TH art in a way that remains attractive to the community,” Marangu said. “Their heritage is part of the heritage.”

The new Jëje Zho men’s shelter is expected to be ready by December.

Contact Dana Hatherly at [email protected]

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