PNS Daily Newscast - May 27, 2020 

Four Minneapolis police officers fired following the death of a black man; and a federal lawsuit claims New Yorkers with disabilities excluded from expanded absentee ballot plan.

2020Talks - May 27, 2020 

Republican governors in Georgia and Florida offer their states as alternatives to North Carolina, after President Trump expresses impatience about talks of a more limited Republican National Convention because of the pandemic.

Indigenous Alaskans Seek Colorado Support to Protect Lands

Proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could disrupt the Porcupine caribou's migration and calving. (Pixabay)
Proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could disrupt the Porcupine caribou's migration and calving. (Pixabay)
May 30, 2017

ALAMOSA, Colo. -- Representatives of a Native American tribe in Alaska are making their way across the Southwest in an effort to raise public awareness about a proposal to open up parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for fossil fuel production.

Members of the Gwich'in nation will be in Alamosa Wednesday to screen a short film highlighting their 28-year struggle to protect lands they view as sacred. Anna Vargas, project coordinator with Conejos Clean Water, said the battle to protect public lands also is a battle to protect cultural heritage.

"That's what the Gwich'in people are trying to do," Vargas said. "They want their clean air, and their clean water, their land. They want to protect their wildlife for future generations - in perpetuity - so that their children, and their children's children, have that opportunity to live the same life that they did."

Proponents of a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate that would open up some 2,000 acres of the refuge for drilling say increasing domestic energy production would create jobs and is important for national security. Vargas pointed out that limiting development and keeping public lands wild ensures other sustainable economic activities including outdoor recreation and tourism.

Wednesday's event kicks off at 7 p.m. at Adams State University's Carson Auditorium.

Conservationists are pushing an alternative measure in the U.S. House that would designate more than 1 million acres of the refuge as wilderness to prohibit oil and gas production. Vargas said the Gwich'in nation is especially concerned about the impact of drilling on the Porcupine caribou herd, which is central to their way of life and an important food supply.

"The Gwich'in people still have that connection to the Porcupine caribou, the same as our Native Americans had to the bison, and the buffalo, and to the fish - the different wildlife that provided sustenance,” she said. "These animals are sacred, and they treat them with respect."

Vargas added that if we don't protect our ecosystems - our lands, water, and wildlife - future generations will suffer.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO