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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bury my heart at ANWR

Rep. Dennis Kucinich writes about the despicable way in which the House of Reprehensibles snuck ANWR drilling into the defense authorization bill (talk about piggybacking crime on crime!). He also points out something that I hadn't heard from the Sierra Club or other environmental organizations--the crime is not just against nature, it is against real people who were living in northern Alaska many centuries before oil was discovered at Titusville or Spindletop. Dennis points out that this crime against the Gwich'in people is just a continuation of a long and brutal history:
The history of the United States’ relationship with our native peoples has been one shame-ridden chapter after another of expropriation, humiliation and deception, theft of lands, theft of natural resources, destruction of sacred sites and massacres. The U.S.’ relationship with our native peoples has been an endless cycle of exploitation and contrition. Massacres and apologies.

Who in the future United States will apologize to the descendants of today’s Gwich’in tribe, whose humble, natural way of life, religion and culture is threatened with extinction by the plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? The Gwich’in tribe has lived on its ancestral lands for 20,000 years in harmony with the natural world.

Drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic refuge, called by the Gwich’in “the Sacred Place Where All Life Begins,” will disrupt caribou calving grounds, leading to the long-term decline not only of the herd but of the tribe that depends upon it for survival. This will violate Gwich’in internationally recognized human rights and make a mockery of our founding principle of the inalienable right of each person to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”