27 Feb Welcome To Gwichyaa Zhee ~ an intimate look into the lives of the Gwitch’in People
In 2017 the Trump administration opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The development of this fragile ecosystem for energy extraction puts at risk the culture and livelihood of a community that has called the Alaskan wilderness home for millennia. The Gwitch’in People, who rely upon the unimpeded migration of the porcupine caribou herd, will likely witness not only the destruction of the habitat from which they derive a critical source of food, but also the natural environment that defines their ancestral heritage. Much like efforts to preserve the integrity other sites such as the Bears Ears National Monument or the Standing Rock Reservation, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is on the frontlines of the battle for Native American sovereignty and the preservation of tribal land. Though far removed from the urban centers of western civilization in the lower 48 United States these wilderness areas mark the boundaries of our collective ability to survive on a planet whose dwindling natural resources may one day fail to support human life. If ecosystems on the northern most margins of our nation collapse, how much longer can we possibility expect our cities to exist?
In this remarkable film, “Welcome To Gwichyaa Zhee” producers Len Necefer and Greg Balkin introduce viewers to life among the Gwich’in. Visiting Arctic Village and points north near Fort Yukon, Alaska and the Beaufort Sea we are invited to see what these people stand to loose in the name of progress. Though considered by many to be a vast wasteland, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an ecologically diverse and culturally rich environment worth protecting.
For more information visit: http://www.gwichyaazhee.us/