Frequency of Traditional Food Use by Three Yukon First Nations Living in Four Communities

  • Eleanor E. Wein
  • Milton M.R. Freeman
Keywords: Animals, Berries, Edible plants, Fishing, Food, Hunting, Indians, Social surveys, Subsistence, Haines Junction, Yukon, Old Crow, Teslin, Whitehorse


This study documented the frequency of use of traditional food species among 122 adults from three Yukon First Nations. The informants resided in four communities: Haines Junction, Old Crow, Teslin, and Whitehorse. Food patterns were examined in two ways: (1) estimated frequency of household use of traditional food species over a one-year period, and (2) frequency of traditional foods in four daily diet recalls of men and women, collected once per season. On average, Yukon Indian households used traditional foods over 400 times annually. Moose was consumed on average 95 times yearly, caribou 71, chinook salmon 22, Labrador tea 20, cranberries and crowberries each 14, and blueberries 11 times yearly. According to household estimates, traditional foods were consumed almost as often in Whitehorse as in Haines Junction. Teslin surpassed both these, while Old Crow had the highest frequency. Daily diets of adult individuals indicated that traditional foods were consumed on average 1.14 times per day. Traditional foods were reported twice daily in Old Crow diets, once daily in each of Teslin and Haines Junction, and 0.5 times daily in Whitehorse diets. Measured by frequency of use, traditional foods - especially moose, caribou and salmon - remain extremely important in contemporary diets of these Yukon Indian people.

Key words: traditional foods, aboriginal foods, Yukon First Nations, Yukon Indian people