Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 14, 2016

Gwich'in Gathering in Arctic Village 2016


Sarah James
Shalak Naii,

We wish to invite you to the Biennial Gwich'in Gathering in Vashraii K'oo (Arctic Village, Alaska) from July 25-29, 2016.  The Arctic Village Council is hosting the event.

Join us!  This year is an urgent time in our fight for permanent protection of the sacred birthplace of the caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this era of record global warming and climate change.  We will celebrate and thank President Obama for sending the first-ever proposed Arctic Refuge Wilderness recommendation to Congress.  This year is the key time to move permanent protection –Wilderness– forward.

Since 1988, the people of the Gwich'in Nation have spoken with a unified voice to protect the Sacred Place Where Life Begins Izhik Gwat'san Gwandaii Goodlit the birthplace and nursery grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil exploration and development. In June 1988, the Gwich'in from northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada met for the first time in hundreds of years to face the urgent threat of oil drilling in the caribou calving and nursery grounds in the Arctic Refuge.  The Chiefs, the Elders, and the people met in Arctic Village with one goal, to unite to protect the caribou and our culture. Since then, the Gwich'in have gathered every other year to reaffirm this commitment. 

We will also discuss other issues important to our culture like health, renewable energy, and climate change with reports from meetings in Paris and from UN Indigenous Peoples.  We will also celebrate  U.S. restoration of Gwichin names to rivers Teedriinjik, Ch'idriinjek, and Dranjik.

All Nations and friends of the Gwich'in are welcome.  This will be a time to meet new people and visit with friends and relatives, share our culture, enjoy traditional foods, music, dance, and games, and keep the Sacred fire burning.  There will be absolutely NO drugs or alcohol permitted. 

If you plan on attending, we ask you to register as early as you can:
Please fill out the form: and also email and  to let us know you are coming. Most people choose to travel on Mon. July 25 and Fri. 29.  We will post the schedule of activities and agenda soon at and in response to your registration.
Welcome. The Gwich'in Steering Committee and Arctic Village Council would like to welcome all of you to the community. We hope you are inspired by this two-day ...
If you have any questions please call or email the Arctic Village Council office: (907) or Sarah James, (907)587-5315

Mahsi Choo,

Leonard John, First Chief

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