An Indigenous Vision for Our Collective Future: Becoming Earth’s Stewards Again

Native Peoples Action
Nonprofit Quarterly
October 14, 2020

Alaska native peoples were stewards of this place we call home for more than ten thousand years prior to contact with Europeans. Despite centuries of colonization, our Alaska Native bloodline remains one of strength—evolving still today as we adapt to new ways of survival in our changing natural, cultural, and built environments. We find each other and become united in our fight to overcome the multiplicity of attempts to dismantle our ways of life through the generations of colonization, disease, and now climate change. We find each other, and we link arms.

Moving Back to an Ecosystem that Provides for Balance and Harmony

Alaska has been described as the “The Last Frontier”—a “wild” and “rugged” landscape “unknown” and “uncharted” by those living in what we refer to as the Lower 48. Alaska became a state in 1959; prior to that, our Alaska Native ancestors lived in reciprocity with the environment and animals, without a hierarchical system in which one species dominates another but rather living within an ecosystem that provides for balance and harmony. As the First Peoples of these lands, for centuries we have shared and continue to share land and water with a vast range of relatives, including bears, deer, sheep, moose, caribou, wolves, whales, fish, seals, and many other species of wildlife. We are also blessed with tundra, plant medicine, and berries, cedar, roots, and other wild trees and plants essential to our health and livelihood.

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