Mayo is the main community for the Na-Cho Nyak Dun, which means “Big River People” in our Northern Tutchone language. Closely linked to our relatives at Pelly Crossing and Carmacks, we are all part of the Northern Tutchone Council, through which we undertake many programs for language revitalization, traditional arts, documenting cultural practices and education.
Our name defines who we have been since the beginning of time. Na-Cho Nyak is our name for the Stewart River. Big rivers are where we have always lived, travelling extensively to make a living, navigating rivers and lakes, big and small in finely crafted birchbark canoes, mooseskin boats and rafts.
When our region boomed with gold and silver mining in the early 1900s, we moved to a site downriver from Mayo, known today as “the Old Village.” We had a church and school there, living very happily in our own ways for more than 50 years. The river eroded that site and amenities in Mayo brought us into town in the 1950s. We remember the Old Village fondly and go back as often as possible for ceremonies and celebrations.
While we pursue contemporary opportunities we never forget our traditional values and skills. Many people are fine artists producing exquisite beadwork, porcupine quillwork, moosehair tufting, carving, music and other arts. We’ll give you a warm welcome when you come to Mayo to see it all in person.
My name is Lena Malcolm. My mother was Jessie Lightning, my dad Billy Malcolm. They walked all the way to Dawson so I could be born at St. Mary’s Hospital. My dad carried me and a big bag of dried meat back home. In those days – no road, no car. I grew up in the Old Village downriver from Mayo. At Christmas we all go to church and have tea afterwards. At night everybody go to Ella Moses house for big party. Lots of people dancing, drumming and singing, having good time. You can still see the Old Village across the river – walk along the path from the new Na-Cho Nyak Dun Government House.Elder Lena Malcolm
Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association
1-1109 Front Street (White Pass Building)
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A-5G4