Where does an idea come from?
I don’t remember where I had the idea to form the Yukon Mint®, but I do remember filming the Kaska Kayeh video at Dennis Shorty’s cabin near Ross River around 2018. Brian Ladue, former Chief of the Ross River Dena Council, is also an amazing videographer who agreed to make a video for Golden Predator Mining Corp. It was part of an effort to give the Ross River Dena Council Elders their public voice about mining and exploration in their traditional territory. It is a great video and led to a second with Elders from the Liard First Nation.
During the shoot, I was sitting on the front deck of the cabin, overlooking the lake, and a squirrel or chipmunk kept chattering. We had to reshoot my words several times as his voice was louder than mine and was drowning me out. As we sat there laughing and waiting for him to stop (never occurring to any of us to stop him or move him along) Brian asked if there were any questions I would like to be asked. “Not really”, I said, “just ask me what you want”.
My husband, Bill, piped up and said, “I have a question… where do you get all your ideas from? Where did you get the idea to form the Yukon Mint®?”. Good question and one I really don’t know the answer to, and I said so at the time. They just come, some are good, some are bad, but I always have lots of ideas. But this one, this one was still one of my best.
We were bulk sampling our 3 Aces project and had decided to build our own plant in Watson Lake to process the sample. It was a simple decision – you can send your bulk sample material to China like everyone else and never be certain if you get accurate results, OR, you can build a local plant, employ local people, maintain knowledge locally and have accurate results.
It was simple and brilliant… okay, brilliant but not simple. Another story for another day. But it worked and we had our own gold that was sitting in front of us – free of any chemicals in the process. The idea of sending it away to a refinery in exchange for cash just sat wrong with me. My brain went back to Elijah Smith’s words that were once told to me – ‘…those are our rocks and they just send them away…’. Now I am paraphrasing, as the story was told to me by an Elder while we were out on the land near a mine site. I was told that in the Yukon land claims discussions, mining and royalties were issues since rocks from traditional territories of the First Nations were sent out without local benefits from the proceeds … It always made me think, how can we be better? How can we mine and benefit the local nations and communities.
So, with the gold sitting there, I started to connect some dots on community benefits. Why are we sending the gold away? What more can we do to benefit the community and spin dollars around the community more and more. At the same time, I was watching my husband and his love of coins from around the world, so I ordered a couple of 1/10 ounce gold coins and started some research on the Royal Canadian Mint. Did you know the Royal Canadian Mint started as a way to keep money and gold from leaving Canada? Brilliant, let’s do the same in the Yukon. So, we formed the Yukon Mint®, not my first round with the coin idea, having both sent a proposal many years before to the Yukon Placer Miners Association to try to get them to make coins, and then worked with a placer miner who in fact DID make a fabulous coin.
So now we had the Yukon Mint®, we had the gold and all we needed was a design…simple. 😊