Bristol Bay Tribes Urge State to Protect Cultural & Subsistence Sites

Matthew N. Newman and Wesley Furlong at Native American Rights Fund (907) 276-0680 and
MONDAY, July 23, 2018

Bristol Bay Tribes Urge State to Protect Cultural & Subsistence Sites

DILLINGHAM, AK – Bristol Bay Tribes called on the State of Alaska to protect important cultural resources at Amakdedori Bay on Cook Inlet from Pebble’s toxic exploration efforts.Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources is considering a request from Pebble to allow geotechnical drilling at the site of its proposed industrial port at the ancestral Amakdedori Village in Cook Inlet. The proposed drilling puts graves, cultural resources and important subsistence sites at risk. United Tribes of Bristol Bay today submitted comments to the state DNR asking the state to protect Amakdedori, and uphold the Alaska Historic Preservation Act.

“The State of Alaska cannot allow a foreign mining company to dig up the land that has sustained our people since time immemorial,” said UTBB Board President Robert Heyano. “Once again, the Pebble Limited Partnership is acting with complete disregard for local people. Now is the time for Alaska to say no and to protect our culture, history, and way of life for future generations.”

In addition to the Amakdedori village, three other ancestral villages are found near the proposed Amakdedori port, and during hearings in Igiugig and Kokhanok this spring, several people testified about the cultural importance of the area, and historic patterns of subsistence activity there. UTBB has also asked the state to minimize potential impacts of drilling by adding several conditions to any permit, including: protocols if graves are disturbed, having cultural advisors from Kokhanok and Igiugig present during the exploration work, using radar rather than drilling, and using human remains detection dogs.


The United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.