In the hunt for a sustainable future – or any future at all – the knowledge of Indigenous people is almost always sidelined. Quanna Chasinghorse plans to change that. “I am completely honoured to Indigenise mainstream culture and media,” says the climate activist and model. A Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota tribe member based in Fairbanks, Arizona, Chasinghorse played a key role in the 2020 Native Vote campaign and lobbied congress in 2019 to successfully pass bill HR 1146, which protects the Artic Refuge – known by Gwich’in people as ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins’ – from oil drilling.
A co-author of the Declaration for Climate Change State of Emergency presented to the Alaska Federation of Natives and a regular speaker on climate change and Indigenous rights, Chasinghorse’s activism bagged her the Spirit of Youth Award in 2020, and The Women In Green Forum Youth Trailblazer Award in 2021.
Since signing with IMG Models in 2020, she’s fronted campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein, Fjallraven and Chanel, always using her platform as a launchpad for activism. “I will continue the fight to protect our sacred Indigenous lands and bring more awareness to the climate crisis Indigneous people face through all opportunities,” Chasinghorse adds.
Text Sophie Benson