FAIRBANKS – After 25 years, the Gwich’in Nation is still fighting to protect our basic human rights. Our way of life is dependent upon the Porcupine (River) Caribou Herd whose birthing and nursery grounds are on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where Alaska’s Governor Parnell intends to do seismic and exploratory drilling. We vehemently oppose this plan for exploration and drilling.
Furthermore, the Refuge is closed to any and all drilling and it would take an act of Congress to open it. This is the latest in many failed attempts to open the Arctic Refuge up to drilling and development. In a State where many of our communities are in need, $50 million could be better spent.
Our 15 Gwich’in villages between Northeastern Alaska and Northwestern Canada are dependent upon the Porcupine Caribou for our survival. Arctic Village is adjacent to the Arctic Refuge. It is our wish that the Obama Administration push forward with permanent protection for the Refuge.
Statement from Ernie Peter, 1st Chief of Arctic Village, Alaska:
“Arctic Village has been involved with this issue since the first proposals to drill. Our elders told us this was going to take all of us speaking with one voice to protect the land and animals. People should understand that we are fighting for future generations and we won’t give up until we see the Arctic Refuge permanently protected.”
Princess Lucaj, Gwich’in Steering Committee
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