Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Ricko DeWilde on Life Below Zero

Ricko DeWilde on the river. Photo by Life Below Zero

My cousin, Ricko DeWilde, joined the Life Below Zero show on National Geographic. If you recall, I featured him on my blog in 2014 (Ricko DeWilde – Making It In Two Worlds). I thought it would be a great time to get an update from him.

I appreciate the way Ricko shares our way of life as Koyukon Athabascan people and rural Alaskan life. He shares our way of survival. A few years ago, he shared some of his moose hunting and cultural videos. It caught the attention of National Geographic talent scouts. And his story began with Life Below Zero.

Being on the show allows Ricko to dive deeper into his homelands, past and culture. He’s able to explore places around his camp more. Talking about our ways of life on the show helps him to reflect on his childhood and how he grew up. He shares what life is like living in interior Alaska and along the Koyukuk River. One of the craziest things people think is that Alaska Native people no longer exist. Well, we exist and thrive off the land.

Sharing Our Ways of Life by Ricko DeWilde

Being on the show has really helped me get back to my roots and dive even deeper into my homelands where I grew up on the North Fork of the Huslia River. I feel honored to share our Native way of life because Life Below Zero does such a great job at shining light on the positive side of our culture.

As Natives, we carry a vast amount of knowledge of our environment and animals, which is only possible through the thousands of years of learning, accumulating, and passing it on from generation to generation. I believe what Life Below Zero portrays by showing this aspect of our culture demands a great amount of respect from all races of society today.

My greatest hope for my family and my future is that we embrace our Native culture more strongly and also be proud of who we are and what we represent. Our younger generation sometimes seem lost and want to embrace the new sports and music cultures of today to a fault, often abandoning their own way of life. I believe what we have as Natives is a very beautiful and strong culture that will one day demand the same respect from the other cultures, and positive exposure is the key to this.

Ricko DeWilde and kids. Photo by Life Below Zero

Living with Nature is something all people of this earth once did to survive, but the indigenous people of this earth are the last ones still holding onto a balance to keep working in harmony with their environment. Koyukon Athabascans today are very connected to the land and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to shed light on our beautiful way of life. I wish for the viewers to not only enjoy what they watch, but also learn to respect and honor Mother Earth. We must know that we cannot destroy this beautiful planet for eventually she will simply react in a way that eliminates anything that disrespects the beautiful balance that makes life possible on Mother Earth.


We ran into Ricko and the film crew on the Huslia River a while back. I’m sure we’ll run into each other again soon the next time I get a chance to go home. In the meantime, enjoy the show. Enaa baasee’, Ricko, for sharing our ways of life in a good way.

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Ricko DeWilde on Twitter
Ricko DeWilde on YouTube
Life Below Zero show on National Geographic

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6 thoughts on “Ricko DeWilde on Life Below Zero”

  1. I just love Ricko (he is my favorite on Life Below Zero), but I haven’t seen him in the latest episodes. Is he still doing the show?

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