Kivalina hunters and elders went to Go Speak Out on Monday, with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell present, listening, and in dialogue as part of her short visit to Kivalina earlier this week. Re-Locate helped set the table for intimate conversation in the McQueen School gym, turning down the overhead fluorescent lights except for one strip directed down onto a rectangular table for fifty covered in white paper.
Kivalina hunters and elders shared firsthand accounts of climate change’s impacts on Kivalina, and joined other residents and village leaders to deliver summaries of longstanding attempts to relocate the village and accounts of life lived despite endless emergencies. Re-Locate worked with residents, whaling captains, and village leaders to gather video footage from Kivalina’s archives to play during the meeting. Two screens juxtaposed scenes of vibrant celebration and climate change and its impacts. The videos looped alongside each other for the length of the meeting, both scenes equally real.
So often, reporters fly into Kivalina for a few hours and post a dramatic account of the village’s impending and helpless “disappearance,” one that is far removed from the Kivalina peoples’ actual understanding, everyday life, and experiences. Kivalina’s history of media performance, litigation, planning, and partnership building together frame relocation not as an escape hatch but as an opportunity to build worlds where Kivalina’s particular culture, practices, and politics can endure and flourish.