This Week's Program: Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gwitch'in Nation Launches National Campaign to Protect the Arctic Refuge and a Way of Life Protect the arctic Refuge

The Gwitch'in Nation launched a national campaign in Washington, D.C. on August 13 called "Drum! Dance! Sing! Protect the Arctic Refuge! The Gwitch'in are preparing to battle members of Congress who are trying to insert provisions into the national Budget Bill for oil development in the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. During the next five weeks members of Indigenous nations from across the country will travel to D.C. to support the Gwitch'in. The vigil, held across from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, is scheduled to culminate in a demonstration during the week of September 20th, when Congress members supporting a plan for drilling in the Arctic will make their next move.

We speak with three Indigenous people of different nations who are in Washington, D.C. for the Save the Arctic campaign. We discuss how oil development could impact the Gwitch'in nation and all the wildlife in the region, how the recently signed Energy bill impacts Native Alaskans and other Indian lands, and the broader threats oil development may hasten such as climate change, human rights violations and opening nationally protected wildlife regions to energy development.

* Sarah James, Member of the Gwitch'in Steering Committee2 * Kelvin Long, Director of ECHOES (Educating Communities While Healing and Offering Environmental Support), and member of Black Mesa Water Coalition * Clayton Thomas-Mueller, Native Energy Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network