Fairbanks teen Quannah Chasinghorse is the subject of a new article in Teen Vogue, which highlights her work to save the Arctic.
She is the daughter of Jody Potts, who is the regional director for Native Movement, and who was recently the subject of an Anchorage Daily News story about former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot’s fall from grace.
Potts told the ADN she decided to tell her story, in spite of her nondisclosure cash settlement with the Mallott family, to protect her daughter’s reputation.
“Did someone lose their dog?” Quannah Chasinghorse jokes, pointing at a large moose in her neighbor’s snow-covered yard. At -40 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a typical winter’s day in Fairbanks, Alaska. Quannah, an 18-year-old Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota youth, is curled up on the couch, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Protect the Arctic, Defend the Sacred.”
“It is a rare moment of rest for Quannah. In the past year she has traveled coast to coast, advocating to protect her homelands from the desecration of oil drilling, with her mother, Jody Potts, who is Han Gwich’in and a tribal member of the Native Village of Eagle. Her mother also serves as the regional director for Native Movement and is a board member with the Alaska Wilderness League. This mother-daughter duo represents the decades-long fight to protect their state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
“Defend the Sacred” is the same group that is associated with protesters who shoved a raw, bloody caribou heart at Sen. Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie Sullivan during a meet-and-greet campaign event in Anchorage.
“The refuge is hailed for its immense ecosystem of nearly 20 million protected acres, with sweeping tundra, glacial-fed rivers, and mountain ranges providing a sanctuary for wildlife, especially the 200,000-strong porcupine caribou herd, as of 2018. Before the region was deemed a wilderness refuge by the federal government, in 1960, it was known by the Gwich’in as “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit,” meaning “the sacred place where life begins.”
Later in the story, the full anti-oil message is delivered in no uncertain terms:
“As we near the river at nightfall, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline snakes alongside us — a stark reminder of the fossil fuel industry’s threatening presence on the land.”
And then comes the pitch for the anti-job candidates:
“The cataclysmic shifts caused by the climate crisis and pandemic can create opportunity for change that is parallel in magnitude. To paraphrase writer Terry Tempest Williams’s book, Erosion, our undoing may be our becoming. The power of the youth vote is reason to hope. In the upcoming election, 1 in 10 voters will be Gen Z. The Brookings Institution reported that Gen Z and millenials “now comprise a greater share of the eligible voting population than has ever been the case. It’s about the same share of eligible voters as baby boomers and their elders — generations that voted for Trump in 2016 and for Republican candidates against President Obama.” It has been reported that by 2030 “millennials and their juniors will make up more than half [of] not just the population, but of all eligible voters.”
Read the rest of the story at Teen Vogue.