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From TAINO-L@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU Fri Aug 17 16:01:13 2001
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 00:44:22 -0500
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Subject: TAINO-L Digest - 15 Aug 2001 to 16 Aug 2001 (#2001-133)

Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 14:32:17 -0400
From: Ms. Carmen Rivera <Public-Relations@TAINO-TRIBE.ORG>

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Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2001 9:31 AM

> Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 22:25:28 +0800
> Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 17:09:56 -0800
> Please disseminate far and wide, we need urgent action...

Gwich'n Nation calls on all supporters to take urgent action now to protect Arctic refuge

Gwichin Nation appeal, 13 August 2001

The fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the fate of the Gwich'in Nation. If the Arctic Refuge is sacrificed to meet the high energy consumption needs of the US, the Gwich'in will not be able to continue our ancestral way of life and pass it on to our future generations as we have since time immemorial.

The Gwich'in need your help now to defend this sacred place from the desperate attempts of industry and the White house to violate the birthplace and nursery of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On August 1st, 2001, despite public opposition, the US House of Representatives passed the Energy Security Act which includes authorization for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is an alarming impediment for protecting the birthplace and nursery of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, one of the few remaining untouched ecosystems in North America. With Presidential approval a foregone conclusion, it is absolutely necessary that the senate block this short sighted and destructive bill. Before being heard on the Senate floor, the Energy Security Act must pass through the Senate Energy and Resources Committee. This is an important opportunity for us to strip the Arctic Drilling Provision from the bill before it reaches the full Senate.

The Arctic Refuge is facing its greatest threat ever, with many opponents stacked up against it: the White House, the oil industry, the Teamsters, and the AK delegation. Even our strongest allies in the Senate are under enormous pressure to change their position.

We need all of our supporters to take action now in opposition to this threat. It is crucial that we create broad resistance to drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge-the birthplace and nursery of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. The Gwich'in people consider this area sacred, in our language we call it Vadzaih googii vi dehk'it gwanlii which translates to The Sacred Place Where Life Begins. Call or Write your Senators, tell all of our relations to make this call or write this letter today. We need the voice of all our supporters to defeat this attack on the inherent fundamental human rights of the Gwich'in Nation. Our traditional culture and way of life which is interconnected with the Porcupine Caribou Herd to Meet all our essential needs such as food, clothing, tools, spirituality and social structure is at stake. Speak out now!

WHAT YOU CAN DO Congress will be in recess until September 4th. During the month of August, your Senators will be back in your home state, visiting their regional offices. This is an excellent opportunity to call, fax, and write- or better yet, meet with -your Senators and voice opposition to drilling in the Arctic Refuge. This is especially important if your Senator is a member of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee (Some members listed below)If your Senator is not listed below, you can obtain their contact information online by going to http://www.senate.gov/senators/index.cfm.

Your local Phone book will have contact information for their local offices. Or you can call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the local office number.

Alaskan supporters-we need your help as well, many Senators in the US only hear from the extremely pro-drilling Alaska delegation. These Senators need to understand that the Alaska delegation does not speak for you. Please call members of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee listed below, let them know we want this area protected. Contact your relations in the lower 48 and ask them to call their Senators as well. TALKING POINTS7 The health and productivity of the Porcupine Caribou Herd is vital to the cultural survival of the Gwich'in. America has seen the devastation when the buffalo were nearly wiped out. We cannot allow another atrocity to occur in our generation, when we do have other options.7 The Porcupine Caribou Herd numbers 129,000 strong. The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the core birthplace and nursery. The Gwich'in consider this area sacred, in their language they call it Vadzaih googii vi dehk'it gwanlii which translates to The Sacred Place Where Life Begins. Certain areas must remain sacred, left intact and undisturbed. Especially now as we see so much natural lands being forever destroyed for economic gain and short term prosperity. 7 This issue is about the basic inherent fundamental human rights of the Gwich'in to continue to live their ancestral way of life. We must ensure that all people are able to enjoy fundamental human rights. These rights are affirmed by civilized nations in the International Covenants on Human Rights. Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social And Cultural Rights read in part: In no case may a people be deprived of their own means of subsistence Regardless of how much oil may be in the refuge, it is morally wrong to expect the Gwich'in to sacrifice their way of life to meet this country's energy needs. What will be lost and what is at stake is too high a price to pay. Ninety-five percent of the Arctic coast is open to oil development; the Arctic Refuge coastal plain is the last five- percent. The coastal plain should be protected for all Americans to enjoy in perpetuity. The oil companies have enough land to develop.

Prude Bay is estimated to contain 40 more years of oil for this nation's energy needs, that's plenty of time for the United States to develop alternative energy sources and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels which are very harmful to the natural environment and a leading contributor to global warming, which we observe harmful impacts from already.7 Oil development in the Arctic Refuge will not solve the energy needs of this nation, even if the US developed all our domestic sources of oil we would still be reliant on foreign oil because the US has such a high rate of consumption. A wiser energy solution must be delineated, not a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The United States has a sad history of wreckage and destruction with indigenous peoples of North America. The US government should not repeat mistakes from the past and continue to destroy indigenous cultures as they would if they develop the Arctic Refuge. The unprotected area of the Arctic Refuge coastal plain provides vital habitat for nearly 200 species of animals, including the 129,000 member Porcupine Caribou herd as well as polar bears, grizzlies, wolves and millions of migratory birds. Allowing this essential, eternal wilderness to be exchanged for a short-term supply of oil is unacceptable. Drilling in the Refuge will have no discernable short-term or long-term impact on the price of fuel and will not decrease our dependence on oreign oil. The amount of oil under the Arctic Refuge would never satisfy more than 2 percent of our nation's oil demands at any given time. In fact, if the Refuge were America's only source of oil, the amount of recoverable oil would sustain America's consumption for less than 6 months. The wilderness and cultural values of the Arctic Refuge coastal plain are too precious to give away as a temporary bandage for our need for oil.

America does need a sound national energy policy, but we simply can't drill our way to lower prices or energy independence. Our energy policy should emphasize decreasing the demand rather than increasing the supply of fossil fuels. There are reliable and sensible means of achieving these ends - such as energy conservation, alternative energies and improved energy efficiency - which can reduce our dependence on oil without sacrificing Indigenous cultures and the a fragile ecosystem.

Oil development cannot be done in an environmentally sensitive manner. Since 1996, the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 427 spills annually on the North Slope - most commonly spills of diesel and crude oil. Whether an accident or faulty maintenance, the Arctic Refuge coastal plain is too precious to risk from spills such as these.


1. Pass the word along - contact your friends, relatives and neighbors. Urge them to add their voice in opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

2. Use the media - you can educate your community and highlight the important role your member of Congress plays by writing and placing a letter to the editor of your local papers. You can use the talking points to help create your letter. The site http://www.opedletters.com/will tell you where to e-mail your letter to the editor.

3. Start a petition/set up a signing table - Address the petition to the Senators in your state asking them to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling. Be sure to have each signer include their full printed name and address. (This is very important to establish the validity of the signatures.) Then set up a signing table at your local college campus, library, grocery store, or anywhere else that attracts a lot of people. You can also have a phone available and ask people to call their Senators immediately.