Caribou Hunt—Jimmy John | Gwich’in and the Caribou | 2007 | 18 in. x 24 in.

January 2007, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, near Arctic Village, Alaska. Gwich’in elder and cultural activist Sarah James, who lives in Arctic Village, wrote in her testimony in Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point: “Caribou are not just what we eat; they are who we are. They are in our stories and songs and the whole way we see the world. Caribou are our life. Without caribou we wouldn’t exist. … In June 1988, our Gwich’in Elders got concerned about the oil companies wanting to drill where the caribou have their calves—in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. So they called a meeting in Arctic Village. People came in from all our villages. Our chiefs went up into the hills and around a campfire they made a pact to protect the birthplace of the Porcupine caribou herd and our Gwich’in way of life. The Gwich’in Steering Committee was formed and we agreed unanimously that we would speak with one voice against oil and gas development in the birthing and nursing ground of the Porcupine River caribou herd.”

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