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Father J. M. Mouchet

Father Jean-Marie Mouchet, an Oblate Priest, French Resistance fighter, and concentration camp survivor, was born in France in 1917. He came to Canada in 1946 and moved to the Yukon in the 1950s.

Noting that local First Nations people were first giving up their nomadic way of life Father Mouchet inspired them to re-connect with the power of their bodies, and reawaken their link to the land. Rather than preaching to them he taught them to ski.

His belief that physical exertion is a direct route to wholeness and confidence led him to set up the Territorial Experimental Ski Training (TEST) program. This program produced Olympic champion skiers from the Vuntut Gwitchin people in Old Crow.

In 1993 he received the Order of Canada in recognition of his half-century of dedication to the people of the North. One of his important contributions is the establishment of the Territorial Experimental Ski Training Program which he introduced in Old Crow and Inuvik.

In 2001, at the age of 84, Father Mouchet returned to Old Crow to work on setting up another youth ski program with the help of the community.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization's archival collection includes these 159 photographs of Vuntut Gwitchin people in Old Crow taken by Father Mouchet in the1960s. Father Mouchet donated his slides to the museum for long term access and preservation, knowing that they would be extremely important to present and future generations, in particular the Vuntut Gwitchin people, of the traditional way of in Old Crow, Yukon Territory.

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