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Why Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Is Crucial for Our Survival

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is sacred -- not only to the Gwich’in, but to millions of Americans who have time and time again voiced their steadfast support of permanent protection of the Refuge.

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For the Gwich'in, we are grateful that so many see the logic in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  To open the Refuge up to oil and gas development would take an act of Congress and if this travesty were to occur it would set a precedent for the United States that no place is truly protected, no place is truly sacred. 

Today though, a grandmother up in Arctic Village, Alaska is preparing a pot of caribou soup for her grandchildren.  Today we give thanks for our ancestors, for the caribou that gave itself up so that we can survive, and we give thanks for the many, many good people in the world who are doing all they can to protect our Mother Earth for future generations.  Happy birthday, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, may we see many more to come!


Princess Lucaj (Neet'saii Gwich'in) is a writer/actor/director based in Alaska.  Her grandparents are the late Steven & Katherine Peter of Arctic Village.  She is the Executive Director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee an indigenous non-profit whose mission is to ensure the long-term health and viability of the Porcupine Caribou Herd that sustains the Gwich'in way of life.  She is a mother and loves sharing her rich culture with others.