The Gwich’in town of Arctic Village lies north of the Arctic Circle and just south of the border of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), often called “the last great wilderness.”
In August, six SNC students met SNC Professor Brennan Lagasse in Fairbanks AK and took a bush plane to Arctic Village, to share the traditions of the Gwich’in Tribe and experience firsthand the majesty and vulnerability of ANWR. Those students will be sharing their experiences at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences Room 106. The event is free and open to the public.
The once in a lifetime opportunity for SNC students resulted from tribal elder Sarah James’s respect for Professor Lagasse’s previous work with Indigenous peoples, and the tribe’s commitment to make “friends in the south” to advocate for their environment and way of life.
During their time in Arctic Village, students went hunting and fishing with their hosts; participated in elder celebrations, and many interviews and discussions with local tribal members; ate traditional meals of caribou, fry bread, and ground squirrel; and hiked and camped amongst the rugged peaks of the Brooks Range.
The experience is one that excites Lagasse about the sustainability program at SIerra Nevada College. He was quote in an Eagle’s Eye story as saying, “What we did in Alaska, that’s it man. I guarantee any liberal arts school, any progressive sustainability program, anybody sees that and knows what’s up in the sustainability world would look at that say ‘Wow, that’s cool.’