Indigenous Tourism Business Feature: Shakat Tun Wilderness Camp, Yukon
Shakat Tun Wilderness Camp
James Allen likes to joke that he “makes money from poop.” When visitors journey north to his Shakat Tun Wilderness Camps on Kluane Lake in the Yukon, Allen takes them on scat tours to teach them more about the wildlife they may see in the area, including coyotes, lynx, wolverine, bison, moose and bears — black and grizzly. “It’s their traditional territory, too,” says Allen, owner-operator of Shakat Tun and member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
Visitors from all over the world come to stay in the cabins he’s built along his trapline. “I tell them the story of our family,” he says. “I grew up on the land and we would come home from residential school and come right out on the trapline with my mom and dad.”
He shows visitors the traps and talks about respecting the animals that feed us. “When I hunt, trap or cook food I thank the animal spirits for giving their lives to me. That’s the kind of cultural information I pass along to our visitors.”
With $10,000 in grants, Allen bought a refurbished 14-kilowatt generator and an ultraviolet water treatment system for his camp. He also bought materials, including a propane stove, for a new kitchen that meets health standards. “We really needed the kitchen. It makes everything a lot easier,” says Allen. “It’s really helped me because I’ve invested a lot just to get going: four log cabins, a yurt, a gazebo with a firepit and a workshop where we make knives and drums. I just can’t say enough about the funding.”