Having grown up in the lower 48 I feel like there is a real disconnect between Alaska and here. especially in the things you learn about. When in Alaska I learned a lot about the Aluttiq people, their traditions, and land acknowledgments. In the lower 48, I barely learned anything about Native Americans in school. I remember in the 5th grade I had a project on the Seminole people of Florida.I was happy to share what I had learned with my class, but after Elementary school I felt like we stopped learning about the orginal Stewards of the land, unless we were talking about Thanksgiving (and that is a whole other can of worms).
The Alaska Regional office is creating an Indigenous Style Writing Guide for the Service. This guide will help establish better wording on what you actually mean when creating posts and talking about the air, water, and land. I sat in on a meeting for the style guide and learned a lot. For example, I used "air, water, and land" rather than just "environment" to help fill in the gap of disconnect we often have with natural areas. An important example is saying that land is "pristine or untouched" signifies that you don't acknowledge that Indigneous communities were and are still there. Native groups know how to take care of natural areas, they were the original "Leave No Trace." This guide is jabout being intentional in what you say.
I am happy that the other DFP working on the Elevating Arctic Youth voices with me, Sydney Ribera was able to work on this style guide during her time. The guide will truly make an impact on how we as the Service act as public servants. It will also show the impacts that DFPs can have. Even though I did not directly contribute to this style guide I am happy that I am able to learn from it, and I hope everyone who reads it does too, and will teach others.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: External Affairs, Alaska Region