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The Five Clans
Visitors to the Heritage Centre are greeted by five traditional Clan poles carved by local artists. They represent the five Clans in which Teslin Tlingit Council society remains firmly rooted: Kùkhhittàn (Raven Children), Ishkìtàn (Frog), Yanyèdi (Wolf), Dèshitàn (Beaver), and Dakhł΄awèdi (Eagle). These poles symbolize the elements of land, water and air.
200 years ago we lived on the Alaskan coast. When the great trading ships arrived on our shores from Russia and America, some of our people moved inland in search of fur. We travelled by canoe up the Taku river and walked over the height of lands into the Yukon interior. Eventually we formed Taku Kwan. Our settlement at the head of the river which was approximately half way between the coast and the interior. This made it much easier to reach both of our trading partners. Our people would spend many months at a time collecting furs and other trading goods. This was an important time, we were in control of our own lives. We traded with our cultural ancestors and we traded with the interior people. We lived off the land and in harmony with nature. We followed the cycle of the season. Eventually we made it to the shores of Teslin Lake which would become the home of the Teslin Inland Tlingit.