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Gwich'in Celebration

The Gwich'in Celebration took place May 30-June 1, 2009 in Arctic Village, Alaska. People celebrated the 20th anniversary of Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The 20th Anniversary: Arctic Celebration of Land and Life took place May 30-June 1, 2009 in Arctic Village, Alaska. The Gwich'in Steering Committee, representatives of communities of Alaska Native peoples and visitors to Arctic Village laid in the tundra to form what became a human aerial message stating "Save the Arctic" with a large caribou in the center (see image at bottom right). 

Many Gwich'in People spoke out during the celebrations about the importance of preserving their land, animals and way of life. Featured here are Trimble Gilbert, Bobby Gilbert and Pete Peter performing traditional Athabaskan music during the celebration.


See more videos

Visit The Arctic Refuge YouTube Channel where you can view more videos of  Alaskans talking about why the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is important to them.

Gwich'in Celebration Save the Arctic Refuge Aerial

For more information about the Gwich'in Celebration, visit:

The Gwich'in are the northernmost Indian Nation living in fifteen small villages scattered across vast area extending from northeast Alaska in the U.S. to the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada. There are about nine thousand Gwich'in people who currently make their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine River caribou herd in communities in Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. The word "Gwich’in" means "people of the land", and it refers to a people who have lived in the Arctic since before the political boundaries that now transect the Gwich’in homelands were drawn on maps dividing Alaska and Canada. Oral tradition indicates that the Gwich'in have occupied this area since time immemorial, or, according to conventional belief, for as long as 20,000 years.(Gwich'in Steering Committee)

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