Known by many ecologists as "the last great wilderness", the Arctic Refuge has been a land in contention for decades. While energy interests have fought for years to open this area for potential fossil fuel extraction, the land is home to polar bears, thousands of migratory birds, and the birthing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd. Join us for a unique opportunity to visit, recreate, and learn from Indigenous Alaskan Natives in Arctic Village and Kaktovik, Alaska.
Arctic Village is home to around 150 Gwich'in Native Americans. The village is situated at the southern end of the Arctic Refuge at the base of the wild Brooks Range. Students will learn first hand from local Natives about their traditional ways, subsistence lifestyle, and why protecting the Arctic Refuge is so important. Weaving an experience over five days, time will be spent paddleboarding and fishing the East Fork of the Chandalar River, hiking and hunting with local substance hunters, and learning the myriad of ways the Gwich'in maintain their traditional culture.
Kaktovik is home to around 300 Inupiat Native Americans. The village is situated at the northern end of the Arctic Refuge on the Arctic Ocean where polar bears thrive amongst numerous aquatic, terrestrial, and avian species. The area is known as "America's Serengeti" as it is one of the most intact, pristine ecosystems in North America. Over the course of five days, after spending time in Arctic Village, students will raft the Hula-Hula River, and learn about the unique Arctic biodiversity of the area from local Inupiats viewing native species thriving in their habitat as they have for thousands of years.
This cultural immersion course will transform students through linguistic, historical, political, and environmental education. This experience is catered to growing student leadership skills through a deeper understanding of a diverse world, to better equip them to become more informed global citizens.