Grade levels: 8-10

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:
  1. Describe how and why places are given names by the Kluane people.
  2. Explain the relationship between descriptive place names and nomadic life.
  3. Explore some of the traditional Southern Tutchone place names and describe why they think the places were given those names.


  • Computers with internet access.
  • Reference materials (as per previous lessons)
  • Pens, pencils, paper.

Lesson Process:

1.Students use the website to read and complete section six of the note-taking sheet for twenty minutes. I also recommend the Yukon Native Language Centre website ( for its information on languages and placenames in the Yukon.

2.Twenty minutes of research on traditional place names either among the Southern Tutchone or other First Nations. One interesting area to research is the number of areas in which road signs now contain both the english/french and the First Nations names of places, for example the Nisga’a Valley in British Columbia.

3.Class discussion (10 minutes):

a.Share results of research. What did students learn about place names among First Nations?
b.Why do many First Nations groups use descriptive place names, whereas the “official” place names on our maps are often named after a person? Why do we in Canada and other countries often name a place after a famous person, when that person may not even have been to that place? What kind of cultural values are held in how we name the places around us?

4.For the last hour of class, distribute the quiz for students to complete. Discuss the answers next class after they have been marked.