Teslin is only a two hour drive from Whitehorse is nestled at the intersection of two waterways in the Yukon. The picturesque and wild landscape have attracted people to its shores for many reasons.
Now there is a bustling community of 400 and the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) First Nation name the area as their traditional territory. Once a great trading post of the Hudson Bay Company, now it is rich in heritage and also attracts those interested in hunting, cottage life, or simple living away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Mission in Teslin, also known as Immaculate Heart of Mary, has a long history in Teslin. It was built in 1938 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, more simply known throughout Yukon as "The Oblates", who were well known for their resilience in northern Canada and dedication to bringing the gospel to remote areas.
The "tee-pee style" church that still stands in Teslin is a testament to the Oblate presence in that area. There even is a small lake cottage associated with the Mission. During the winter months the cabin has become a stop-over place for snowmobilers on Teslin Lake.
Trudy Moessener is the administrator of the Mission and lives in Teslin at the rectory, while remaining a member of the Madonna House Apostolate. Maryhouse, a community of this apostolate, is also present in Whitehorse.
Trudy and a congregation of 15-30 each week celebrate communion or a mass (if there is a visiting priest) and they serve the greater community of Teslin. Many Teslin Tlingits are practicing Catholics and enjoy the life of the Church experienced at Immaculate Heart of Mary church. Trudy brings a special gift of music and an wonderful knowledge of the eastern Byzantine tradition. She is often joined by visitors from Whitehorse or people who are passing through.
Teslin Tlingit people are Inland Tlingit, some of who journeyed from the coast of southeast Alaska to the interior Yukon in the early 18th Century, Until the formation of permanent settlements with the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942, Hunting and gathering continue to play a large role in Teslin Tlingit culture. The Tlingit brought with them during their migration from Alaska a great and deep faith in Christ that continues today.
Today, there are approximately 800 Teslin Tlingit citizens - 300 of whom live in the Village of Teslin, 300 in Whitehorse, and 200 elsewhere in North America. Teslin Tlingit Council has a robust governing structure and its young people participate in the success of its self governing structure.