“Land is survival. We need to preserve it for our children and our children’s children. That is where we do subsistence and can enjoy life. And without people, the land doesn’t matter. So it really goes land to people, people to land. That’s who we are. We protect the land to protect our future.”
-Nancy James, First Chief, Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government
Because Eastern Interior Tribes decided to become involved and spent time in consultation with land managers, the Tribes turned a Draft plan that allowed 100% development of their traditional lands into a Proposed plan (to be finalized in December of 2016) that protected 77% of the land in their region. Eastern Interior Tribes did this with strong advocacy for the land they nominated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, as Riparian Conservation Areas, and for mineral withdrawals that would prohibit mining.