FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 13, 2019
Dakwäkäda (Haines Junction) – Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is mourning the loss of our oldest Elder, K’axhnuxh (Tlingit) – also known as Paddy Jim and by his nickname Dezitátà, which is Southern Tutchone for “Fast-Running-Daddy” – who passed away on November 11, 2019.
“My Uncle Paddy was one of the last links to the traditional old ways. He was a preeminent Southern Tutchone and Tlingit knowledge keeper and his whole existence was about passing down learning from a long time ago,” said Dän Nätthe Äda Kaaxnox (Chief Steve Smith), who is also Paddy Jim’s namesake. “He was a champion of teaching our young people. That knowledge he had was something we tried really hard to learn from.”
K’axhnuxh was born on November 15, 1922 to Maghąts’asana (Maggie) and K’ayedátà (Little Jim) at Chemia Män (Otter Lake), near the south end of Äshèyi Män (Aishihik Lake) and spent much of his childhood growing up at Łu Ghą (Klukshu). One of 10 children, he was rich in knowledge of a life lived close to the land and water.
In 1944, Paddy married Ts’alhtiin (Stella Jim, nee Smith) and
moved to live near her family in the Kuwasa/Takhini area. They were married for more than 70 years and
raised ? children together.
As an Agunda (wolf clan) leader and expert in dän k’e (our ways), K’axhnuxh shared his traditional knowledge, skills, and language throughout his life with all who wanted to learn. He helped teach traditional tool making with many Yukon First Nations and in many Yukon classrooms, passed down important ceremonies, and always worked to advocate language and culture revitalization.
In 2014, K’axhnuxh was recognized with the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre’s Keish Elder Award. He was also acknowledged in 2015 in the Yukon legislature for his lifetime of contributions to language and culture.
Paddy Jim was also adept in guch’an (non-First Nation) ways. He learned to read and write during summer
school with a priest who came to Łu Ghą (Klukshu) to teach the children. He was a hard worker and held many skilled jobs
including: award-winning big game guide, mining camp laborer, horse wrangler, sternwheeler
worker, crane operator, Swede-saw operator clearing the Whitehorse airport,
rodeo man, fence-builder, teacher and much more. His work ethic stayed with him and he actively
shoveled his driveway, chopped wood, walked, hunted and taught well into his
is predeceased by his beloved wife, Stella; siblings, including Chùschwa (Marge Jackson), Kasanłaya (Mary de Guerre), Nukwaya (Bill
Jamieson), and Kashandeya (Oliver Jim Sr.); and children, Gary, Wayne, Matthew, Mervyn, Virginia and Margaret.
is survived by his children: Nora, Barb, Sally, Mary Jane, Darlene, Benny, Frankie
and Lydia, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His legacy lives on in the Dákwänjē (Southern Tutchone) language
immersion program, in the structures he built at Da Kų Cultural Centre, and in
the dän k’e teachings and skills he
passed on to countless youth.
“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? ”
A funeral service is planned
for 1 p.m. this Saturday, November 16, at Shadhala Kų (Champagne Hall).
To learn more about Paddy
Jim, read his book at http://dakwanje.com/k%CA%BCaxhnuxh-kwandur/dezitata-fast-running-daddy-the-life-and-stories-of-paddy-jim/.
To listen to stories told by Paddy Jim, please visit http://dakwanje.com/k%CA%BCaxhnuxh-kwandur/.
For more information:
Amy McKinnon, Communications Manager
(867) 634-4200 ext 237