The Council of Yukon First Nations was originally formed as the 'Council for Yukon Indians' in 1973 specifically to negotiate land claims. By 1980, in response to the need for unity among Yukon First Nations and the settlement of land claims, the two parent organizations, the Yukon Native Brotherhood and the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians, as well as the CYI had amalgamated to form the Council for Yukon Indians. In 1995, the Council adopted a new constitution and in keeping with the language of the times, changed its name to the Council of Yukon First Nations.
The Council is formed under the Societies Act of the Yukon and operates under a constitution which has been adopted by its member First Nations at a General Assembly. At present, the CYFN is made up of 10 Yukon First Nations: the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, the Teslin Tlingit Council, the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Selkirk First Nation, the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation, the Ta'an Kwach'an Council, the Kluane First Nation, the Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the White River First Nation . Four other First Nations in the Yukon Territory, the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Liard First Nation, Kwanlin Dun First Nation, and Ross River Dena Council have chosen to work independently of CYFN at the present time. Currently, nine of the member First Nations of CYFN have reached land claims and self-government agreements (those first nine listed above).
At the Annual General Assembly in 2004, CYFN welcomed four First Nations from the Mackenzie River Delta region into its organization: the Tetlit Gwich'in Council, the Nihtat Gwich'in Council, the Ehdiitat Gwich'in Council and the Gwichya Gwich'in Council.