This paper brings together emergent conversations in the disciplines of ethnobiology, anthropology, and ethnomusicology to examine the role of song in human-animal relationships in the context of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation in and around Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. Song has always been a critical tool in Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in human-animal interactions, as a powerful means of communicating with or about animals, who are understood to be non-human persons. This paper argues that the particular sentimental and communicative natures of song are mobilized as a means to promote, reinforce, and embody a certain set of relational values in the biocultural lifeways of Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in citizens. Recently Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in are turning to song as a means of negotiating the effects of global climate change, particularly as these critical relationships become more tenuous and unpredictable.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3