We will develop strong leaders to manage natural resources, collaborate with First Nation communities, and operate in northern environments.
The Council of Yukon First Nations is encouraged that the first university north of 60 will be YukonU. This will enable Yukon First Nations citizens to remain at home to achieve the post-secondary education they desire while continuing to be important contributors to their communities.
-Peter Johnston, Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief
It is critical that northerners are the drivers of their own future, and having our own homegrown university will empower Yukoners to do just that. Staying close to home has been critical for my own personal academic successes but having an education that is relevant in the northern context is even more important.
Our culture and environment in Yukon is distinct, and what works elsewhere won’t necessarily work here. I believe Yukon University will be a powerful instrument in creating a strong future for Yukon Territory.
- Michelle Legere, Yukon Native Teacher Education Program Graduate
Life in the North is characterized by pride, resilience, and isolation. The land defines Yukon. For generations, Indigenous people have lived off the land and water; to this day, some still carry out subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping.
First Nations are vital to the North. Yukon University is committed to continuing its work with Yukon First Nations as true partners, with the goal of decolonizing the institution and responding to the Calls to Action concerning education, from the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Yukon is a large jurisdiction with a small population, and Yukon University is its only post-secondary education institution. Most Yukoners reside in Whitehorse, a vibrant city with amenities that exceed those in a city of its size in southern Canada — excellent restaurants, local coffee roasters, a variety of housing options and recreational facilities, and wilderness on the doorstep.
For many people living in the territory, moving south for education or training purposes is not an option. The challenges of leaving their family and moving to a large institution in the city has limited their educational success.
42,152* people reside in Yukon
14 First Nations in Yukon, 11 are self-governing
1,190 students in credit and 4,417 in non-credit programs
28% of credit students identify as First Nations
27 years old – student median age
13 campuses – 11 in rural Yukon
295 permanent or term faculty and staff
50+ programs that offer a degree, diploma, and/or certificate
330+ research projects completed since 2010
10 research partnerships with industry in 2019-20
$47,825,749 annual operating
*Yukon Bureau of Statistics (2020)
At the present time
the Yukon Education system is designed to get students ready to go outside to university. Very few of our students feel this is necessary. We feel that there should be a university in the Yukon.
Together Today for our Children Tomorrow Presented to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Ottawa, February 1973, By Elijah Smith and a delegation of Yukon First Nation leaders.