Public Land Management


Initiative brings new ideas on public lands management National parks and wildlife refuges are revered as places to find healthy habitat, clean water, and opportunities for recreation and reflection. But the story of our public lands is also marked by mistreatment and displacement of Indigenous people, including here in Alaska. Now, in a project called the Imago Initiative, Indigenous people, federal policy makers, and conservationists are re-thinking how to manage public lands to better align with Indigenous traditions. And they’re starting at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s largest refuge. Meda DeWitt of The Wilderness Society explains that the initiative is meant to foster on-the-land dialogue that integrates Indigenous knowledge and perspective into existing public lands management. Last summer, DeWitt was among a group of Indigenous representatives, conservation group leaders, and agency officials who discussed the initiative while camped in the remote refuge for over a week. “When you’re…