Carcross. Welcome magazine, a publication by Yukon First Nations Culture & Tourism in my seat pocket on the Air North plane to Dawson City, was where I first I heard of this town. “Carcross,” I wrote and underlined in my journal: “Four sacred mountains, migrating swans, Emerald Lake.” (Translation: Magellan, we should go there.)
A few days later at Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City, our guide Sammy told us about children from his First Nation being taken away in the early 1900s to the residential school in Carcross. Obviously at that time, the town wasn’t named for a car crossing. Early stampeders to the Klondike called it “Caribou Crossing” after the herds that migrated the narrows, but soon after the name was abbreviated to Carcross. After meeting two of its residents, Shane Wally and Dominic Smith-Johns, we realized Carcross is on track to international name recognition—and if its name changes again, it’ll likely be whatever the words are for “Bike Crossing” in the Tagish language.