Kâachik What was life like at Kâachik ?

Alfred Charlie describes Dagoo life at Kâachik

Long ago this used to be Dagoo country. When the Dagoo people lived here, in those days they said there were lots of people here. [People lived] back that way over to the Dempster Highway, all around there. They moved around and sometimes they lived around there. At that time, they would go to Dawson in the summertime, in June, I guess. Then in the fall, they came back up. In the falltime, before winter, they all got ready. They hunted and they moved around on the land.

Sometimes too, at the place they called Ch’ineetsii Ddhaa , they would live there and then go down to Eagle [Alaska] and stay there for the summer. Some of them who were young men then worked on the steamboat. ... In the fall, they would come back up and then do it again before winter. ... They would hunt moose down this way. They came down and stayed here. They had found this place to stay, they say.

Then they would sew up the moose skins to make boats. After the ice went out, they made the boats and paddled down the river. Down at where they call Ch’iihilii Chik , they would land and set fishnets. There were lots of good whitefish. The lake is called Ch’ihilih chik: it’s a big whitefish lake. At Ch’oodèenjik they would get grayling and there they stayed. The women would tan the moose skins from the moose skin boats while they waited for them. The women scraped all the skins and tanned them.

Then they would go over to Fort McPherson ...and stay there for the summer. Then in the fall time, [they came] back up again. They would stay down at Kâachik also. There too, they hunted and fished before winter. That was how the Dagoo made their living in those days on this land. There were really lots of people, they say, back then.

From there, my uncle Paul Josie went to Eagle and stayed there … and raised his children. John Nukon, too, he lived in Eagle for a long time. While his children were still small, he came back up and stayed at Chuutl’it and raised his children around there. Then not long afterwards, my uncle Paul Josie came back here.

They lived off the land here. They trapped and killed lots of animals. In the spring, after the ice went out, they went to Old Crow and stayed there for the summer. Then in the fall time, [they came] back up here. The boat brought them up, the launch. In those days they had boats with big engines which were called launches. It brought them up here and they stayed here.

In 1940, around then, uncle Joe Netro opened a store for them at Chuutl’it . He had a small store here; he would bring in supplies for them and they lived off that for the winter months. Sometimes in the winter, there would be lots of people around here. From Old Crow, those who trapped in this area would stop here, so there was a lot of people here.

Some of them came up this way, Kâachik , and stayed with us ... and trapped in the winter. ... My grandfather Ch’iti’Viti’ raised his children around around Kâachik . There were three of them: Alfred Charlie, Peter Charlie and John Charlie. They stayed there in the winter and did the same as what the people did around here. They trapped, they hunted, and in the fall, they fished under the ice, too. They really lived a good life in the winter. They made lots of money in the winter months. They would go to Old Crow. Down at Fort Yukon was the Northern Commercial Store; they would take their fur pelts there and sell them. ... They would get supplies for the winter, lots of supplies. The NC was really a help too. They would bring lots of supplies back here, enough to last until spring.

Then in the spring after the ice went out, they would hunt tsèe and sell them in Fort Yukon. In the winter, only occasionally would they kill dinjik . There were lots of vadzaih around here. They killed vadzaih in the winter, and in the spring they hunted dinjik . They dried the meat before the summer. They would land their boats filled with dried meat. They lived on that in summer in Old Crow.

In those days there weren’t boats like there are today. Sometimes there was no meat in the summer. When they hunted, they used canoes. Up this river, and down towards Old Crow and below there, at the place called Theetoh Gwidaanaii , below there they would hunt with canoes. Sometimes they would kill moose. That’s what they did in those days.