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At the edge of the Arctic Circle, oil drilling threatens the indigenous Gwich’in

Nathanael Johnson

The low boreal forest that spans the border between Alaska and Canada is the home of the Gwich’in people. There are some 6,000 Gwich’in, hunting and raising their children in villages at the edge of the Arctic Circle. They’ve been there for thousands of years, following the caribou, which provide a majority of their diet, even today.

Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in steering committee, fears that the herd, and the culture that depends on them, will not survive if oil drilling is allowed on caribou calving grounds.