Princess Daazhraii Johnson is Neets'aii Gwich'in and works with /REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands). She was an Episcopal Church Delegate to the COP 21 international climate negotiations in Paris.
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Protecting the Refuge — Protecting the Future
I am Neets’aii Gwich’in from Alaska, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is our ancestral land. Our communities still rely heavily on the Porcupine caribou herd for sustenance, as well as our culture and spiritual wellbeing. Our elders have taught us that our connection is sacred. Long ago, they predicted these changes in weather, and that one day we would need to return to simpler ways of living and being. They told us we would not be able to survive if we do not protect the birthing grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd from oil development. They told us that we need to do this not just for Gwich’in, but for all of humanity. Protection of the refuge is a human rights issue.