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Policy and Politicians

Though the defense of the Arctic Refuge over the last four decades has been driven by the grassroots, on-the-ground organizing of Alaska Natives and their allies, but the fate of the Refuge has always ultimately been determined through federal politics. As Refuge defenders have made the protection of the coastal plain from fossil fuel development …

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Grassroots Organizing

Since its creation in 1960, the existence of the Arctic Refuge has only been possible because of the efforts of numerous environmental organizations, Indigenous communities, and individual advocates. The earliest efforts to protect the lands in northeastern Alaska from development were inspired by George L. Collins and Lowell Sumner’s “Northeast Arctic: The Last Great Wilderness” …

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Wildlife of the Refuge

Long before the Porcupine caribou became the object of scientific study or conservation campaigns, the Gwich’in were stewards of the animals. As the herd has been threatened by development since the mid-twentieth century, the Gwich’in have continued performing this role in cooperation with settler-governments. The Gwich’in advocated for the 1987 US-Canada treaty, which allows for …

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