Alaska Natives Ask Nevadans to Help Protect Their Homeland
Monday, May 22, 2017
RENO, Nev. -- A group of Alaska Natives are in Nevada this week as part of a tour of the Southwest. They're stoking opposition to a bill that would authorize oil and gas drilling in their homeland, including parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Two women from the Gwich'in Tribe spoke in Las Vegas Sunday and will speak in Reno Tuesday at a showing of a short film about their battle to save their ancestral lands and the caribou herd that has sustained them. Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee, said the herd is a central part of their heritage - which is why her tribe has taken a firm stand against development for decades.
"Just like the Native Americans with the buffalo, they have that spiritual and cultural connection, that's that same connection that we have to the Porcupine caribou herd,” Demientieff said. "The Gwich'in Nation used to migrate with the caribou herd for over 20,000 years. What befalls the caribou, befalls the Gwich'in."
Supporters of the tribe want to block oil and gas drilling by giving wilderness protection to 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They have introduced House Resolution 1889, the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act.
But Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has sponsored Senate Bill 49, to permit drilling on 2,000 acres of the refuge.
Fawn Douglas, a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, said the Gwich’in Tribe's struggle is very similar to Nevadans' fight to protect Gold Butte.
"They're trying to protect their homelands from any development. And we did do that here when it came to Gold Butte,” Douglas said. “And to think about any part of that being desecrated or ruined by any mining or development is just absurd. And they're going through the same battle, the same fight."
The Gwich'in Tribe says the caribou herd's migration and calving areas would be disturbed if Congress approved drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They're hoping Nevadans will write their representatives to urge protections for the area.
Tuesday’s event in Reno will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Patagonia store on Center Street.
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …