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Crowd gathers for the grand opening of the new facility in Carcross, Yukon, and to watch the totem pole being raised in front of the building.

Yukon's Carcross Tagish First Nation
unveils community and learning centre

Yukon's Carcross Tagish First Nation recently celebrated a brand new addition to the community — a big, state-of-the-art learning centre and cultural building.

"I'm feeling very, very happy and honoured that we've been able to do this, and open this building to the public," said Chief Andy Carvill, as a large totem pole was raised in front of the building. The pole was made by renowned master carver Keith Wolfe Smarch and Aaron Smarch

Carvill says the new building has been a long time coming — the First Nation has badly needed such a facility to host all sorts of community events

"For far too long, ever since I can remember, any funerals, potlatches, other services or community gatherings were always held in the school," he said.

The new facility is not small. The main hall can seat 500 people. There are also three board rooms, an elders lounge, a large kitchen, and two "green rooms" for performers. By next year, it's expected to also have a youth and elders wing, and a space for archives.

It was purposely built to look out over Nares Lake, Carvill said, because "our people have used the water for generations — we've travelled by water, we've always camped by the water."

Lepine says the building was designed to be energy efficient, and has a lot of high-tech audio and video technology built in.

"There's a lot of learning, in terms of this technology that the First Nation is trying to figure out. So it's exciting," he said.



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