“The threat to the porcupine caribou herd is spiritually connected to the Gwich’in Nation—protecting the Arctic Refuge and caribou calving grounds is not just about food security, but a fight for our life, culture, and identity. This is not just a physical battle, but a spiritual battle as well.
I went to New York and visited many international banks, trying to connect with people who will never connect or relate to my life or culture. I went to tell them that we matter—mothers, fathers, children, families—WE matter. I represent the Gwich’in Nation in our fight to keep our homelands and our ways of life intact. Over the years, working with Sierra Club has meant a lot to me. We didn’t just work together. We strengthened our relationship and built a trusting partnership, and that means a great deal to me..”
Executive Director of the Gwich’in Nation Steering Committee, which is comprised of 14 different Tribes across Alaska and Canada that are opposed to oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge in order to save the porcupine caribou
MOVEMENT PARTNER PROFILE:
GWICH’IN NATION & INVESTORS
DEFEND ARCTIC REFUGE FROM DRILLING
Throughout 2018, in partnership with the Gwich’in Steering Committee, the Sierra Club Foundation and the Sierra Club took every opportunity to demonstrate widespread opposition to drilling in the coastal plain and elevate the defense of the Arctic Refuge as a seminal human rights and environmental issue that impacts us all. We worked with the Gwich’in Nation to identify key opportunities for us to assist in amplifying its voice, successfully pushed back on every administrative move intended to streamline the process for drilling, and launched a coalition-wide corporate campaign targeting companies and financial institutions that are poised to move into the Refuge.
ON OUTDATED FORMS
CONVINCED INVESTORS TO INVEST IN CLEAN ENERGY
We also partnered with the Gwich’in Steering Committee on solidarity events, including an event in Washington, D.C., that laid the foundation of unified Indigenous action for the Arctic Refuge. Thirty Tribal leaders—from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Navajo Nation, Lummi Nation, and other Tribes representing fights across the country—joined the Gwich’in Nation to draw connections between their fights to defend their homelands. Together, they stood in solidarity against the Trump administration’s dangerous attempts to prioritize the interests of corporate polluters over the human rights, culture, and way of life of
Our efforts over the course of the year resulted in significant delays to the administration’s aggressive drilling timeline and, more importantly, we played a role in helping to elevate the voices of the Gwich’in people and assist them in building power to push back on the threats to the Arctic Refuge.