Protecting the Arctic Refuge is more than a conservation issue: It is a matter of cultural and human rights. The coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is the core calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd, and aboriginal people in the north have depended upon the caribou for thousands of generations for their subsistence needs. The natural rhythms of the herd are deeply embedded in the patterns of Gwich'in culture, and the continuation of this culture is dependent on protecting the biological integrity of the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.
To learn more about the wildlife and people of the Arctic Refuge, you can view Caribou Commons at McPhetres Hall of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on March 25. Caribou Commons is a powerful multi-media slide show that was created during a 1,000-mile journey from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the Gwich'in village of Old Crow in northern Yukon. If you've never been to the Arctic, attending this show is the next best way to learn for yourself what the controversy is all about.