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“Tahltan Territory is 95,933 km² or the equivalent of 11% of British Columbia. If the Tahltan Nation were its own country, we would be bigger than Portugal and slightly smaller than South Korea. The territory is rich in natural resources and continues to garner international attention for its mineral potential and abundant wildlife.”
The north/western border runs parallel to the Alaskan/Canadian border, and includes part of the Yukon Territory. The south/eastern border includes the upper Nass tributaries and western half of the Stikine plateau, including the sacred headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena rivers.
Tahltans currently make up over half of the residents in Tahltan territory, dispersed between three main communities: Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and Iskut.
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Dease Lake began its existence as a trading post started by the Hudsons Bay Company in 1837. It would become a stopping point for prospectors heading north for the Stikine, Cassiar, and Klondike gold rushes. Dease Lake is located about 50 km north of the Stikine River and is the junction to Telegraph Creek. Today the town is considered the government centre and supply point for the district. The present population numbers around 475 of which approximately 45% are Tahltan.
The modern history of Telegraph Creek dates to the 1860’s with the Stikine and Cassiar gold rushes. These events led to the first major influx of non-Tahltan people into their territories. As its name suggests, Telegraph Creek was named for an overland telegraph line that was to connect southern Canada to the Yukon. Construction of the line was started in 1866 and finished in 1901. It fell into disuse with the increasingly widespread use of wireless radio communication in the 1930’s. The main reserves of the Tahltan First Nation are located in Telegraph Creek and today the town is home to about 400 residents, of which approximately 350 are of Tahltan ancestry.