“What I know I got to pass it on to younger people. That’s how native people work, they carry it on they pass it on to next generation. A lot of the stories, the old stories, see try to pass it on to you and then you can turn around to teach the next young, generation. That’s how native people work. See? Pass it on to next one. So they carry on with it all the way through, you know what I mean? ”
-Kaxhnuxh / Paddy Jim –
Born in 1922 to Maggie and Little Jim. K’axhnuxh has led the fullest life imaginable. His education is from his family on the land and waters. He did learn to read and write through a priest who came to Lhu ghą chua, (Klukshu) to teach the children in the summers. Some of his many jobs have been: horse wrangler, crane operator, helping clear Whitehorse airport with a bow saw, rodeo man, hunting guide, steam ship worker, and building russell fences. He has assisted many First Nations within the Yukon with traditional tool building and has worked with many groups and organizations to advocate language and culture revitalization. He comes from a large family with ten children as well as countless grandchildren and great grandchildren. At 92 years of age he continues to shovel his driveway, chop wood, walk, hunt and teach, always teaching.
In 2006 Kʼaxhnuxh began weekly language sessions with Tadüra (Janet Burns) and Khâsha (Stephen Reid). These weekly language sessions have all been audio recorded. The Elijah Smith School Dákwanje language program is built upon the language teaching of Kʼaxhnuxh. All Dákwanjè programming flows directly from Kʼaxhnuxh. In addition there is a link under Kʼaxhnuxh name up above titled, “Dezitata: the life and stories of Paddy Jim” Please take a look, and a listen. Kʼaxhnuxhʼs legacy is far reaching, full of wisdom, love and compassion.
“Stories are vessels for passing along teachings, medicines, and practices that can assist members of the collective.” (Kovach 2009 p. 95)
This wonderful quote of the power of stories in our Indigenous lives is even greater when used within the community’s own language. K’axhnuxh is a recognized Agoonda leader of our community. As a leader he has a deep understanding of the power and importance of these stories. Furthermore he has a strong appreciation of their communal nature. He is dedicated to not just passing on the stories of our people, but the culture and way of life they represent.
Building on the importance of stories is my duty to carry out what has been asked of me. My duty is to K’axhnuxh, his children and grandchildren, to the Agoonda (wolf people), to our communities. To bring these stories to our people, making them accessible for everyone to benefit from, as they have benefited me.
We welcome you to listen to highly respected Wolf Clan leader Kʼaxhnuxh (Paddy Jim), share stories in his own language. Transcripts will be accompanying these stories soon, so stay tuned!
“I had to work for it, they tell me a story, pack water, cut wood for him with a cross cut saw, no sweede saw, no power saw. That’s how much I want to hear. That’s how I learn. If I don’t tend to old peoples stories I wouldn’t know nothing today, see?”
-Kʼaxhnuxh / Paddy Jim –
Tagish Men in Trouble:
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Klondike Collection, 1898, No. J6186
Kovach, M. (2009) Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.