Arctic Voices

Arctic Gardens Ebook - Chapter Two: Caribou Nation

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Our future is what we are fighting for, for the right to be alive. I want to look my great grandkids in the eye and know that I have done a good job, know that they will continue to be Gwich’in, that the calving grounds are protected, and that our life as a people continues for thousands of years more. -Darius Elias, 2007

Chapter TwoCaribou Nation

A bull caribou in the Arctic Refuge

The Gwich’in people, some 8,000 of them, who spread out over thousands of square miles on either side of the U.S. and Canadian border, are literally the “People of the Caribou.” Their 15 villages are strategically placed along the migratory routes of the 120,000-strong Porcupine Caribou Herd. The bulk of this chapter will be the story of the Caribou Nation as told by the Gwich’in, themselves. We have visited villages as far west as Arctic Village, Alaska, and the eastern-most Gwich’in village of Inuvic, Northwest Territories. We recorded the voices of the Gwich’in people from these two villages, and also from Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, Old Crow in the Yukon Territory (www.oldcrow.ca), and Fort Yukon and Venetie in Alaska.

Porcupine Caribou near Old Crow, Yukon

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