October is home to one of our favorite weeks of the year in Alaska, as Anchorage hosted the annual Youth and Elders Conference followed closely by the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention. It is a time when thousands flock to Anchorage to discuss the top issues faced by Alaska Natives throughout the state and work together to find solutions.
Food and art abound, and Alaska Wilderness League took this opportunity to share our work with convention attendees and reconnect with old friends. We felt support from all corners of the state because of our advocacy to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of Alaska.
This also proved to be the perfect opportunity to introduce our newest addition to the League staff – Ole Lake, our new Tribal Liaison. Ole is Yupik and originally from Hooper Bay, a community along the western coast of Alaska. He is no stranger to environmental work and has been advocating for a healthy environment since he was a young boy. Hosting a booth in the AFN convention hall is no easy task, but Ole dove right in and was a superb spokesperson for the League and our mission. Welcome to the team Ole!
Between resolutions calling for responses to the climate change impacts already wreaking havoc on rural Alaska Native communities, and a protest calling for increased protection for the wild subsistence foods that sustain those Alaska Native communities, it was clear that the connection between Alaskans and the lands and waters they have depended on for generations is as strong as ever.