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Healing from the Inside Out

Perspectives from the first Indigenous woman to ever serve as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native American liaison
Healing from the Inside Out

Crystal Leonetti, Alaska Native Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska 📷 USFWS/Lisa Hupp

Original Source

Whoever wants that job is crazy!” That was Crystal Leonetti’s reaction when she first heard about a job opening with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in Alaska. Crystal was already working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a federal agency she’d been affiliated with since high school. NRCS was about conserving resources, not regulating them.

The people who regulate our way of living, of surviving and being who we are,” she said, “they have had a bad reputation in the villages.

Well, here’s a surprise: Crystal ended up taking that job herself. She’s now in her tenth year as an Alaska Native liaison with the Service. The reasons behind her choice are meaningful and worth understanding. Let’s start with how Crystal introduces herself. She begins in Yupik.