Macy at Serpentine Hot Springs this summer for the National Park Service’s BioBlitz in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Photo courtesy Macy Rae Kenworthy.

Fighting for Our Way of Life

By Macy Rae Kenworthy, Arctic Youth Ambassador

Kotzebue was small-town-life, with a Native twist.

I grew up running around with my brother and making mud pies, but I also had to learn to hang fish and make seal oil. It was a non-traditional childhood, but a pretty common one when it comes to rural Alaskan communities.

Macy speaking at an event with former Miss Arctic Circle Elizabeth Ferguson, current president of the Qikiqtagruk Iñupiaq Youth Council. Photo courtesy of Kelli Shroyer.
Macy and participants of the breakout session at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo courtesy of Macy Rae Kenworthy.

Kotzebue finally got snow within the last couple of days. Before, everything used to be frozen by late September.

Last year, the fall seal hunting season started in November because it took that long for the ice to start freezing. Our caribou also came a lot later this year, fish migrations are changing, and ocean acidification is also a huge issue — the ocean absorbs a large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere impacting the pH of our oceans and ultimately, harming ocean life.

(left) On board the Schooner Bowdoin sailing with crew to Portland, Maine. Photo courtesy Macy Rae Kenworthy. (right) The Schooner Bowdoin. Photo courtesy of Amanda Roberts.

Through all my experiences, away from home and right here in Fairbanks, I have learned where I truly belong: fighting for my people.

Even after my time in the Arctic Youth program ends, I now know that I will always be an ambassador and advocate for my land, culture and people as long as I live.

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Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the education system