This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
“If we had dressed in office clothing to meet the standards of D.C.,” says Wanda Culp, who wore vibrant red, blue, and black robes, “we would have just melted into the crowds that were going into those offices every 15 to 30 minutes.”
In March, Culp and three other indigenous women traveled to Washington, D.C., from their home in Southeast Alaska, to meet with lawmakers in an attempt to persuade them to protect the Tongass National Forest. As part of a delegation organized by Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), a nonprofit group that engages women worldwide in environmental advocacy, they walked the halls of Congress wearing formal Tlingit regalia instead of pantsuits and plain dresses. “We stood out that way,” explains Culp, who is part of the Tlingit people. “We couldn’t be ignored.”
The nearly 17 million acres of the Tongass cover most of Southeast Alaska. “When you walk into the old groves of timber, I would describe it as walking into a cathedral,” says Joel Jackson, president of the tribal group, Organized Village of Kake.... Read more