Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It is truly messed up.

We're in bed, sleeping... and there's a "knock, knock, knock" on the door that wakes us both up. Ruth says "one minute!", and I get up and quickly throw some clothes on. I open the door, and it's light outside. Momentarily confused, I think maybe it's morning.

There's an older teenage boy, and he says "what are you doing, sleeping?"

Yep, we were sleeping. And now I'm wondering what time it is. I close the door and go look at the clock. It's midnight. We had only been asleep for about an hour!

Of course it's light outside. It's always light outside at this time of year way up here in the north.

I opened the door and told the kid what time it was. Looking genuinely surprised, he says "No way, it can't be that late already".

I guess when it's always light out it's easy to lose track of time.

He says "I want to talk to you guys..."

Well it's not going to happen at midnight. Now, we had heard the locals in this little village are friendly, and we really would have loved to talk to the guy... but not at midnight!

I told him I'm going back to bed, and I closed the door.

In the morning, we went for a walk around town. Not much to see really, and the mosquitoes were out. We stopped in the band office and said hello and asked what there was to see. The lady said there's a short hiking trail up to the big Tsiigehchic sign (think a smaller version of the Hollywood sign!), but we would have had to go back and get the bug jackets on. So we just walked around town.

The only way to get to Tsiigehtchic is on the ferry.

The ferry does a three point route, and you have to specifically ask to get off at Tsiigehtchic.

A pickup truck camper waiting to cross the Mackenzie River on the Dempster Highway.

The Arctic Red River meets the Mackenzie at this point.

There's an old church in a pretty setting on the hill, but they built the new church right beside it, which kind of ruins the setting. There's no way to get a decent photo of it unless you're on the water.

The old church was unlocked, but the new one was locked.

A porcupine out waddling down the road right in town.

We are about to get back on the ferry.

Looking back at Tsiigehtchic. 

Not much in the way of scenery between Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson.

Back at Fort McPherson, we stopped in at the Co-op store where their gas pumps have the cheapest gasoline that we've found up here in the north at $1.46 CAD per liter ($4.20 USD per gallon). We filled up Sherman, and that will last us until we get back to Dawson City.

Then we went to the Fort McPherson Tent and Canvas Shop. This business was started as a government project to employ the locals back in the 1970's, and it's actually now a going concern. Tourists are allowed to visit and get a quick tour of the factory.

 Ruth in the shop.

The stuff is pricey, but I bet it lasts forever.

Inside the shop.

As we were walking out the door, a man was walking in. He looks at us and says "You must be Kevin and Ruth"!

Yep, we are.

Don and Lynn are from Picton, Ontario and they've been following our trip... literally! They were hoping they might bump into us along the way, and they did. So we had a nice chat and gave them some pointers... they are also heading up to Tuktoyaktuk.

Ruth, with Lynn and Don and their nice class B van.

We said goodbyes and we walked over to the visitors center. The two girls working there were interesting to talk to. While Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk have mostly Inuvialuit people, as you get this far south the aboriginals are the Gwich'in people.

Once again, these girls do not speak any of their native language. Another generation, and it will be gone. 

This is all a result of Canada's religion based forced assimilation policy, a government and church cooperation to "kill the Indian in a child" that took place up until 1996.

Since their first arrival in the “new world” of North America, a number of religious entities began the project of converting Aboriginal Peoples to Christianity. This undertaking grew in structure and purpose, especially between 1831 and 1996, when the governing officials of early Canada joined with Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United, and Presbyterian churches to create and operate the residential school system. This partnership came to an end when the federal government took over sole management of the schools, and then began transferring the control of First Nations education to Indian bands. The last federally-run residential school, Gordon Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, closed in 1996.

One common objective defined this period: the aggressive assimilation of Aboriginal peoples.

And so, these girls have lost much of their culture. We looked at each other and just shook our heads. It is truly messed up.

Between 1986 and 1994, the United Church, the Catholic Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Anglican Church, and the Presbyterian Church issue formal apologies for their participation in the Residential School System. However, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to refuse to issue a formal apology.

Now of course, Canada has also said "I'm sorry", and is throwing money at the problem because, well, that's all they can do. The damage is done.

A tepee, made by the Fort McPherson Tent and Canvas Company.

The Anglican Church in Fort McPherson.

The graveyard contains the bodies of "The Lost Patrol".

We drove Sherman over to the Fort McPherson airport which is the same spot we overnighted on our way north. 

Today, we head to Eagle Plains, a 179 km (111 mile) drive. They are still calling for rain all day tomorrow, so it's likely we're going to be stuck in Eagle Plains again the same way we were on the way north!

The pink color is really cheap today!

And in Canada...


  1. Hahaha how often does a teenage kid knock on your door at midnight? You fuddyduddies, I definitely would have stayed up to talk with him... At least until sunset lol

    1. Yep, I guess we are old foggies now with wanting to sleep during the night! It would have been different had we been up and awake at that time. ;-)

      I am sure you would have had a great time talking with him!

    2. Haha but my point is, in the Land of the Midnight Sun, without any real night to speak of, there's absolutely no compelling reason to have such rigid sleeping hours. Indeed, I would immediately adjust my schedule so that I could observe the sun struggling to set (at due north!) every day at 3am---and sleeping through such an unusual event would be like sleeping through a solar eclipse! ;)

    3. Yep, you are correct, we still like to keep to our "rigid" sleeping patterns, it works best for us.

      Guess we are just weird for not wanting to see the "midnight" sun or lack thereof! ;-)

  2. I looked at and read the header and thought 'Oh my they're taking a plane out?!' Not to worry, you were only boondocking at the airport parking. Whew!

    Grrr....I don't even want to talk about colonization & assimilation. If I do, it won't be pretty. Maybe the older teenage boy's lack of cultural upbringing makes him bold as his institutionalized maker haha.

    Love the canvas shop tour and the pictures of rivers and ferry. Safe travels.

    1. We would never fly out and leave Sherman behind!

      The people here definitely have a different view to life and what is acceptable and what isn't. For starters, in the summer they spend many hours outside and enjoy as much sunshine as possible which means staying up late and when it is this light out even at midnight you truly do lose track of time. Second, they are trying to bring more tourism to their little community and just enjoy being able to talk with different people and don't realize that knocking on someone's door when the unit is all shut up, isn't something that is considered acceptable when in their own community, I expect everyone is watching out for each other, therefore they most likely have an open door policy there. I wish the young guy was around in the morning so that we could have spoken with him then but I bet he was sleeping at that point. ;-)

  3. In the Tent and Canvas shop write up, this is how tipi was spelled!

    1. Guess we hadn't noticed that, but at least they mean the same thing even though they are spelled out differently. :-)

  4. Just amazing countryside almost no one gets to see. Really cool. Sure hate to see culture disappear.

    1. Yes, the countryside is really neat to see, especially when you are covering 880km (547 mi) one way. And, you are right in the whole scheme of things not many people will get to see this scenery or culture.

      We hate to see the culture disappear as well, but we have noticed and read about where they are trying hard in some areas of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut to bring it back to the younger generations, by teaching them how to hunt, do crafts and learn their native tongue. I hope that they can keep it alive for future generations.

  5. The loss of Native culture is an absolute crime. The US did the same thing but they have never thrown money at it or apologized for a national policy of genocide toward the Native Peoples. Had our ancestors been better immigrants when we arrived our environment would not be in the state it is in. Imagine what current Americans would think if the immigrants it does allow in came and took over, changed everything and demanded assimilation. Sorry for the rant.

    1. We agree with you and it is the same the world over with when it comes to the native population unfortunately. I wonder if governments and regions these days would approach the situation differently knowing how things ended up. It's too bad that the immigrants that arrived couldn't have just lived side by side with the natives and learned to just live with each others differences and how to accept those differences and in turn learn from each other.

  6. Roo bad you did not get a chance to talk to that young fellow, but luke yu said, not at midnight!

    1. Yep, it would have been nice to have met up with him again the next morning but I guess it was his turn to be sleeping. ;-)

  7. Interesting blog! Stay safe on your travels.

    1. A slightly different one, but one that touches on a subject that people tend to not think about!

  8. As near as I can tell, this "assimilate the natives" policy occurred in the US, Canada, Australia, and probably others. Think of South America and the Spanish! New Zealand is the only country that embraced their native peoples. The rest of 'em just wanted them to "go away," no doubt in any way possible. Think how (much more) wonderful our countries would be if we'd friended each other instead of trying to exterminate ....

    I'd still be scratching my head if some kid knocked on our door and wanted to talk. Kinda funny, though!

    1. Yep, that is what I mentioned in an earlier reply, it wasn't just Canada and the USA that this happened to. And more than likely it is still happening in many far off lands! :-(

      I think that poor teenage boy just wanted to talk to us, and we unfortunately didn't make ourselves available at weird hour!

  9. I live in Inuvik, was raised here and find your travel accounts truly an interesting read in a good insightful way; quite the adventure you have been on.

    1. Thank you very much, we really loved our visit to your area and I hope we did it justice. When we travel we don't just travel to say we have been there, we travel to learn more about the people, the culture and the beauty of the area itself and that goes for any country that we travel in. This has definitely been a great adventure for us. :-)


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