Tr’ih Zhit Tagwehdii

18. Tr’ih Zhit Tagwehdii

Photo credit: Dan Andre.
Official Name: 
This place name refers to a place about 25 miles (40 km) up the Rat River.
Literal translation: 
Tr’ih =boat, Zhit= in, Tagwehdii = landing

The Gwich’in name refers to the head of a summer trail up the Rat River which leads into the mountains where people hunted caribou and moose. It was the farthest point that people could travel by canoe (and later by scow) because of the shallowness of the river. From here, people had to leave their canoes and walk overland into the mountains. In 1898, miners on their way to the Yukon Gold Rush were forced to over winter here, and they built a small “city” of log cabins. This place became known as Destruction City because the miners had to cut down their boats in order to pack them across the divide into the Yukon by way of McDougall’s Pass. Once they were across the divide, they rebuilt their boats and continued their journey to the gold fields. Teetl’it Gwich’in elder Neil Colin who is known for his many stories and humour, delights in telling people that although he grew up at Nagwichoo tshik (Mouth of the Peel), he was born at Destruction City on “March 13, 1933 at 2:30 in the afternoon at 62 degrees below zero.”