Gwich'in

The Gwich’in Athapaskan language has also been known as Loucheux, Kutchin and Tukudh. It is spoken in northern Yukon, northeast Alaska and in the northwest corner of the Northwest Territories (see Yukon Native Peoples and Languages Map). The people of the Yukon Gwich’in community of Old Crow call themselves the Van Tat Gwich’in, or “People who live among the lakes,” describing the Crow Flats area. The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has a web site.

The Alaskan communities are Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Birch Creek, Venetie and Arctic Village. Other speakers live in the Northwest Territories at Aklavik, Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic (formerly Arctic Red River) and Fort McPherson.

The Gwich’in Language has been taught in the Chief Zzeh Gittlit School in Old Crow since the early 1970's. Gwich’in classes are attended by virtually all the students during the year.

The first writing system for the Gwich’in language was created by Archdeacon Robert McDonald (1829-1913), a Church of England missionary who began working with the Gwich’in people in the 1860's. He called the people and their language Tukudh or Takudh. With the help of the Gwich’in people McDonald translated the entire Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and a hymnal. These books are still being used today by middle-aged and older people who were taught to read and write the McDonald alphabet. Most of the younger people have a difficult time reading the materials because the symbols used by McDonald are inconsistent and because the contemporary spoken language differs considerably from that recorded by McDonald. Today, young people can rely on a modern writing system that reflects the sounds more accurately and consistently. It has been used by the Yukon Native Language Centre since the mid 1970's for use in writing the Canadian dialects of the language. Examples:

man now gum grass
McDonald Orthography tinjih choog tzih ttlo
Modern Orthography dinjii jùk dzìh tl'oo

The first line of the Lord's Prayer is given below in both Tukudh and modern writing.

Audio Storybooks

Jane Montgomery — At Home

Jane Montgomery — Camping (under construction)

Jane Montgomery — Fish Camp (under construction)

Annie Lord — Moose Hunt (under construction)

Learning Resources

About These Resources

This page provides links to digital copies of language lessons, literacy session booklets, and story books that have been prepared over the past thirty years by the Yukon Native Language Centre and Elders and community members from Gwichʼin First Nations, including Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in the Yukon. The work of all contributors to these materials is gratefully acknowledged here.

Recognizing the importance for Yukon First Nations governments, Elders, advocates, learners, and teachers of Gwichʼin to have access to language resources, the Council of Yukon First Nations' Yukon Native Language Centre and Yukon Education's First Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit have worked together to provide the language materials below with assistance from Christopher Cox. While these digital resources are still in early draft form, and are being made available here for non-commercial, information purposes only, it is hoped that they will provide additional support for all those interested in studying, learning, and teaching the Gwichʼin language. To order printed copies of any of these resources from YNLC, please consult the current catalogue of publications.

For detailed instructions on how to search, view, download, and print these materials, please see the language learning resources guide.

Search all print resources

Gwichʼin Language Lessons

  1. Lord, Annie and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1995. Gwichʼin Language Lessons: Old Crow Dialect. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre. Download Printed Materials
  2. Montgomery, Jane and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Gwichʼin Language Lessons: Old Crow Dialect. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre. Download Printed Materials
  3. Norwegian–Sawyer, Terry and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Gwichʼin Language Lessons: Arctic Red River Dialect (Gwichyàh Gwichʼin). Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre. Download Printed Materials
  4. Welsh, Ruth and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Gwichʼin Language Lessons: Peel River Dialect (Teetlʼit Gwichʼin). Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre. Download Printed Materials Download Audio

Gwichʼin Literacy Sessions and In‐Services

  1. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1987. Loucheux Language Literacy Workshop. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, May 5, 6, 7, 1987. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  2. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1991. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, April 24 – 25 – 26, 1991. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  3. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1992. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, October 19 – 20 – 21, 1992. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  4. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1993. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, October 18–19, 1993. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  5. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1994. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, November 22–24, 1994. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  6. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1995. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Whitehorse, Yukon, November 21–23, 1995. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  7. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Workshop held at the Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 19–21, 1996. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  8. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Workshop held at the Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 18–20, 1997. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  9. Yukon Native Language Centre. 1999. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Workshop held at the Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 24–26, 1999. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  10. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2000. Athabaskan Language and Liturgy. University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Session, August 7–18, 2000. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  11. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2001. Tukudh (Gwichʼin) Language and Liturgy. Yukon Native Language Centre – Yukon College, September 25–30, 2001. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  12. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2002. Tukudh (Gwichʼin) Language and Liturgy. Yukon Native Language Centre – Yukon College, October 1–3, 2002. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  13. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2003. Tukudh (Gwichʼin) Language and Liturgy. University of Alaska Fairbanks, August 4–15, 2003. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  14. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2004. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 24–26, 2004. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  15. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2005. Gwichʼin Literacy Sessions. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 3–7, 2005, November 22–24, 2005. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  16. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2006. Gwichʼin Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 21–23, 2006. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  17. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2009. Gwichʼin (Tukudh) Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 24–26, 2009. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  18. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2011. Gwichʼin (Tukudh) Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 22–24, 2011. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  19. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2012. Gwichʼin (Tukudh) Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 27–29, 2012. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  20. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2013. Tukudh (Gwichʼin) Literacy Session. Memories 2013. November 19–21. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  21. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2014. Gwichʼin (Tukudh) Literacy Session. Yukon Native Language Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, November 18–20, 2014. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Gwichʼin Story Books

  1. Lord, Annie and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1996. Dinjik Eenjit Nàhaazrìi. The Moose Hunt. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  2. Montgomery, Jane and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Dinjik Eenjit Nàhaazrìi. The Moose Hunt. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  3. Montgomery, Jane and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1997. Łuk Trʼahgàii. Drying Fish. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  4. Montgomery, Jane and Yukon Native Language Centre. 2008. Dinjii Nìihàa. Camping. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Other Gwichʼin Resources

  1. McDonald, Archdeacon Robert, Mary Jane Kunnizzi, and Yukon Native Language Centre. 1998. Three Traditional Collects from the Takudh Book of Common Prayer: Collect for Palm Sunday, Collect for Good Friday, Collect for Easter. English, Takudh, Modern Gwichʼin. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.
  2. Yukon Native Language Centre. 2003. Gwichʼin Listening Exercises. Teetlʼit Gwichʼin Dialect. Volume I. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Native Language Centre.

Related Language Links

Under Construction