gates of the arctic national park and preserve
National Park Service, Artist in Residence 2014
The Caribou Abundance Blanket was inspired by the massive migration of caribou through the Oolah Valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
Beaded willow and berry edges reach out to antler tips embellished with plastic food wrappers. Silken thread anchors these ciphers to the petrochemical surface of a blue tarp. A delicate balance must be maintained when harvesting fragile ecosystems essential to our global survival.
Although I arrived too late in the season to witness the spectacle, evidence of the herd’s passage lay scattered about the tundra like debris on the morning after a wild party. The Valley was eerily quiet. In ten days I did not see a single mammal.
From this I learned that life follows the herd. Wolves, bear, mosquitoes, man - all sustained by this river of moving flesh. Ancient delicate laced trails, scat, old kills, discarded antler racks, reminders of the Porcupine caribou herd's passage - only the valley walls remaining to bear witness to this mighty flow.
kanuti National Wildlife Refuge
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Artist in Residence 2014-2015
The Wilderness, as a locus of natural resources, turns vulnerable with the extraction of minerals. A proposed 220-mile road to a copper mine near Ambler is estimated to cost a billion dollars. The mine itself is projected to have a lifespan of 12 years. Both the mine and its road stand to dismantle the tundra’s fragile covering, to irrevocably shift the ecology and the lives of those who have lived in the region for generations.
henshaw creek Koyukuk
Saggeddlekkaakk'et is the Koyukan Athabascan place name for Henshaw Creek, which translates loosely to … place where the fish are.
In 2016 I was invited by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to participate in the Henshaw Creek Science and Culture Camp. The camp is located in a remote area of the Koyukan region and is a collaborative effort between - the US Fish and Wildlife Service Kanuti Wildlife Refuge, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Elders from the village of Allakaket, Student Conservation Association, campers and volunteers. The project seeks to enrich the lives of youth from the Interior of Alaska, preparing them as future leaders, through exposure to multiple ways of learning in a remote wilderness setting.
The Camp provides a path to understanding by sharing indigenous cultural values, knowledge, and technologies alongside modern technologies. These experiences fortify youth leaders with important knowledge and tools to survive 21st century impacts such as climate change - a new generation uniquely positioned between cultures, equipped for the futurewith the skills to actively contribute to finding solutions.