Skaydu.û yu xhut duwasakh, Autum Jules dlet ka xanaxh. (My Tlingit name is Skaydu.û and my English name is Autum Jules.) Daxhlawedi I ya xhut. (I belong to the eagle clan.) I am from the Teslin Tlingit Council First Nations in the Yukon Territory. My entire life I was lucky enough to grow up living off the land and water, harvesting berries and medicines, subsistence hunting and fishing on my First Nations traditional territory. I was taught at a very young age how important environmental protection and sustainability is to safeguard the land and the traditional way of life for future generations and to work together in solidarity towards a full sustainable economic future.
My love for the environment guided me to a life changing 4-month Internship, the International Internship for Indigenous Youth Program (IIIYP) with GPI Atlantic. I was stationed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia volunteering for the Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS) as a Textile, Agricultural project coordinator. My team and I worked on non-timber product designs that the locals would benefit economic opportunities from, always incorporating the environmental sustainability teachings, sustainable economic practices, and the use of ecological materials suitable for the Cambodian culture and climate.
The work was so grounding, some of our weekends were spent planting Mangrove trees in a indigenous protected area, planting hope for the future generations. I have always been an advocate for wildlife, water, and the land. As I always strongly believed in protecting the earth and all that is in it, leading a greener brighter future for all. These words from my mother always resonated to me throughout my life, “Who speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves.” It has helped guide me into the person I want to be, never losing sight of the future and my passion and love for the earth and all its beings. My hopes are to learn as much as I can about the world that surround us, and teach, inspire and encourage the younger generations to widen their horizons, see the world while their young, that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and have the passion to fuel it.