Alaskans rally to Defend the Sacred and Protect Indigenous Way of Life

Bristol Bay residents join other Alaskans at the Defend the Sacred rally in downtown Anchorage on Oct. 21, 2017.Bristol Bay residents joined other Alaskans in Anchorage on October 21 to stand up for our most valuable resources: clean air, clean water, our fisheries, wildlife and people. During the Alaska Federation of Natives, over 100 people rallied for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bristol Bay, and Southeast region’s indigenous peoples’ way of life. See a brief video recap of the rally here, and more photos on UTBB's Facebook page.Congress is fast-tracking a federal budget which includes provisions that would open up the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge to oil development. The Refuge is the sacred birthing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd and essential to the survival of the Gwich’in Nation. “As Alaskans we must unite and stand in solidarity to protect our food security and our human rights. As Indigenous people we are land, water, and animal people; protecting them is a matter of survival,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee. Learn more at:  The proposed Pebble Mine threatens the water and salmon of Bristol Bay. “It’s clear our people are just as opposed to large-scale mines in Bristol Bay now as they have ever been. Our waters, salmon and way of life should be protected from risky proposals like the Pebble Mine immediately. We want to defend our way of life. We want to control our own future, not be at the mercy of a mining company that only has profit in mind,” said Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay.SEITC's  Frederick Olsen, Jr. speaks at the Defend the Sacred rally on Oct. 21, 2017 in downtown Anchorage.Mining on the border of Canada and Alaska threatens entire watersheds of southeastern Alaska. “Our traditional values and customary practices, so intertwined with the land and water, have been nourished by the sacred headwaters of now international transboundary watersheds. Our culture and communities depend on the maintenance of the clean water and water life these rivers provide. We want to assure a strong sustainable economy and cultural framework for future generations,” said Frederick Olsen, Jr., Tribal President of the Organized Village of Kasaan. Learn more at: www.seitc.orgDefend the Sacred AK is a broad coalition of community groups and individuals from across Alaska joining together to protect our greatest resources: clean air, clean water, our fisheries, wildlife and people.