This campus was officially opened with a potlatch in October 1988, at which time the College was given to the people of the Yukon. First Nations people of the territory were represented by Angela Sidney and George Dawson. Sidney, whose mother tongue was Tagish, was asked to give the College a First Nations name.
Sidney began by describing how her father’s people once built a killer whale house on the banks of a river, but had to move the house because it was close to high water. Observing the similarity between the killer whale house and the new campus buildings, Sidney named the new campus Ayamdigut. Ayamdigut is a Tlingit name that means, “She got up and went.”
Chief Mark Wedge – nephew of Angela Sidney
“The way Auntie Angela described Ayamdagoot; the name she gave to Yukon College, was that the old vocational school got up and moved to the top of hill. There is another meaning to the name as well. One would like to look at the Ayamdagoot Campus in Whitehorse as a building or structure that is moving and that its participants and student body will become educated and move to advance the Yukon community. Education is the key to advancement and development of people. This should be the main objective of Ayamdagoot Campus.”
The story of Kaax’ achgook – a Tlingit song that Angela Sidney sang at the opening of Ayamdigut Campus on October 1, 1988.
She said, “The reason I sang this song is because Yukon College is going to be like a sun for those students. Instead of going to Vancouver, or Victoria, they’re going to be able to stay here and go to school here. We’re not going to lose our kids anymore. It’s just going to be like the sun for them.” The Kaax’achgook song was given to Sidney’s Deisheetaan clan by the Kiks’adi clan many years ago.