In late March, when Seattle-based photojournalist Kiliii Yuyan was looking for muskox in Kotzebue, Alaska, he nearly fell through the ice, which had warmed along with the climate. Just days later, a group of locals fell through the ice and died. In June, while trying to find gyrfalcons, he had to wear shorts during unheard-of temperatures on the Tundra. A couple of weeks later, he was faced with record flooding while camping in the Brooks Range of Alaska.
Yuyan, who is Nanai (Siberian Native) and Chinese-American, has reported on social justice Indigenous issues for years. But this was the year, he says, where climate change was “in the background of every single story.”
When Yuyan is not in Alaska or the Arctic Circle reporting and taking photos for National Geographic, Bloomberg, or CNN, he calls Seattle home. And when he’s not out on reporting trips, he builds skin-on-frame kayaks in his loft in the Central District, near The Bikery.
His company, Seawolf Kayak, sells them and offers boat-building trips where participants learn about what it means to build a kayak through methods Indigenous communities have honed for centuries. Continue reading