Attempting to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling is the latest threat by the current Federal administration to choose profits over people and the protection of Mother Earth. Just the latest outrage from the capitalist system that is based on the belief that anything can be exploited for money.
Following is information from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL).
According to (Alaska Senator) Murkowski, removing the protections that prevent drilling will lead to “tens of billions of dollars in revenue over the life of the fields. Revenues reduce our debt and simultaneously creat[e] growth needed to reduce it on a greater scale.” Senator Murkowski assures that the “environmental impacts will be minimal.”
But it is not at all clear that the impacts on the traditional livelihood of the Gwich’in people were taken into consideration.
The Gwich’in people have been the stewards of the lands within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since time immemorial. Their traditional livelihood depends upon access to the porcupine caribou, whose breeding grounds are part of the land designated for drilling. The disruptions to the land could impact the porcupine caribou population and thus alter the Gwich’in people’s ability to hunt the caribou.
In the past few decades, Native people and others have begun to acknowledge the intergenerational effects of historical trauma. The trauma results from the forced assimilation, relocation, and cultural decimation of Native people. Tribes have been fighting to reclaim the cultural and spiritual ties lost as a result of colonization. Having access to ancestral lands and the continuation of traditional practices are integral to the healing of historical trauma. It is therefore all the more important that the U.S. government honor its promises and protect the lands of the Gwich’in people.
Drilling within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge threatens the Gwich’in culture, their traditional way of life, and the spiritual wellness that is deeply inherent within the land. We must continue to tell Congress to keep its promises to Native Americans by upholding the environmental protections of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Update: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge By Lacina Tangnaqudo Onco, Friends Committee on National Legislation, December 1, 2017
Over the past several years I’ve been devastated when I’ve heard stories from my native friends of the intergenerational trauma from forced assimilation and cultural decimation. This is especially painful because my ancestors participated in the Indian boarding schools.
Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reiterates its opposition to the Interior Department’s decision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas leasing, the first step toward drilling in one of the last pieces of untouched land in the United States.
FCNL’s long-held opposition to the opening of ANWR to development comes from its Quaker calling that the sanctity of land, water, air, and all forms of indigenous land should be respected.
The Gwich’in people, who have lived in northeast Alaska and western Canada for millennia, have been at the forefront of efforts to protect ANWR from drilling for decades. The Gwich’in Steering Committee, formed in 1988 by Gwich’in activists, has testified in Congress and the UN about the dangers drilling would present to the people and animals who live in the Article National Wildlife Refuge.
Current polls indicate bipartisan support for protecting ANWR with roughly 67% opposed to drilling in the refuge.
Amelia Kegan, FCNL’s legislative director of domestic policy says “Fossil fuels are not the energy choice of the future. We should not start the costly adventure of opening ANWR up as we shift to a clean energy economy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Quaker Lobby Continues to Oppose Opening ANWR to Development By Timothy McHugh, FCNL, August 28, 2020
I wrote about this in yesterday’s post, which includes information about prayer meetings to support the Gwich’in people and protect ANWR.
Alaskan Friends invite you to join us in 30 minutes of Worship and prayer for Protection of “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at 7:30am AK time via zoom. Any vocal and silent prayers during this time are most welcome.
Topic: Morning Worship for Protection of Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins)
Time: 07:30 AM Alaska
Every week on Mon, Wed, Fri, 18 occurrence(s)
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Those calendar events include the Zoom link.
Photo credit: Keri Oberly