The Millennium Trek was an unprecedented journey, primarily by riverboat, from the community of Aklavik in Canada's Northwest Territories to Arctic Village in northeaster Alaska. Following the MacKenzie, Porcupine, Yukon and Chandalar Rivers, the Trek passed through the Gwich'in communities of Fort McPherson, Old Crow, Fort Yukon, and Venetie. Celebrations were held in each village to honor the caribou and illustrate the importance of the herd to the local people. The intention of the Millennium Trek was to bring attention to the plight of the Gwich'in people. They have lived in North America's far northern regions for thousands of years. In this harsh environment, the Gwich'in have relied on the Porcupine Caribou Herd for food and clothing. Their philosophy, traditions, culture, physical health and economy remain inextricably linked with the annual harvest and utilization of the herd. The Gwich'in are known as the 'Caribou People'. Now the threat of oil and gas development in the birthing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd may mark the end of the relationship between the Gwich'in and the caribou.

Matthias Breiter portrayed the Millennium Trek from its start in Aklavik to the finish in Arctic Village and on to Anchorage where the Gwich'in people presented President Carter with a traditional birth belt.

"Whatever befalls the caribou will befall the Gwich'in"


The Millennium Trek