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An Inuit Voice in the Arctic

Fletcher alumna Dalee Sambo Dorough advocates for Indigenous rights on the international stage

In photos, Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta looks idyllic, “like everything is fine,” said Dalee Sambo Dorough, F91, speaking recently from her Anchorage office. But surface appearances can be deceiving when it comes to the network of waterways and islands in the far north, where the ground is frozen 300 feet deep year-round. “You can’t see the carbon emissions that are being generated by the failing permafrost.”

That thawing permafrost is just one of the damaging consequences of climate change that Dalee and other Inuit know firsthand. From vast stretches of northern land in present-day Canada, Greenland, the Russian Far East, and Alaska, to the Arctic Ocean and surrounding swaths of sea ice, these Indigenous communities are linked genetically and culturally despite geographic diversity and geopolitical divisions. They are not only threatened by climate change, Dorough said; their knowledge makes them indispensable in the fight against it.

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