Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
President Joe Biden took to the Rose Garden last week to celebrate his conservation achievements. And the No. 1 item on his list? Blocking the Pebble mine.
That’s a proposed open-pit gold mine upstream from Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
The sockeye salmon fishery there is central to the economy and tribal culture.
Alaska Public Media’s Washington Correspondent Liz Ruskin reports.
“Distinguished guests: the President of the United States, accompanied by Alannah Hurley.”
That’s United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley, who has been fighting the Pebble Mine her whole adult life.
She was invited to Washington, D.C. to introduce the president.
In a blue print kuspuk, she spoke of how her salmon-centered community has lived with a threat looming for 20 years.
“But our people stood up and fought back to protect what we hold sacred. President Biden heard our voices,”
President Biden spoke of the mine as dead.
“In the end, we used our authority under the Clean Water Act to ban the disposal of mine waste and Bristol Bay watershed, period. That means the mine will not be built.”
Hurley says mine opponents are still seeking an act of Congress, to protect the entire watershed from mining.
About a dozen Bristol Bay kids were at the White House for the ceremony, and Hurley says it was a day to relish the win.
“This is everything our people have been fighting for, to make sure that our children will know who they are, and will be able to continue to be Native people in Bristol Bay for generations to come. So to see our kids with the President today, celebrating this monumental historic victory for us was just profound.”
Pebble is appealing the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision denying its permit.
The larger problem for the company is that the Environmental Protection Agency has essentially vetoed any plan to use the site for rock disposal.
Appealing that decision could last years.
A former official of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations in North Dakota was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for soliciting and accepting bribes and kickbacks from a construction contractor, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Court records show Randall Phelan, who was on the tribal council, was involved in the scheme from 2013 to 2020, and that in exchange, used his political position to award the contractor business.
Phelan is said to have received more than $645,000.
He pleaded guilty in 2022.
Photo courtesy: Kaku Ixt Mana Ina Haws Facebook page
After a pandemic hiatus of several years, a major Native American cultural event is coming back to Oregon State University.
KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.
The last time dancers and drummers gathered inside OSU’s Gill Coliseum for the Klatowa Ina Pow-Wow was 2019.
After COVID-19 hit Oregon, organizers postponed it to keep people safe.
Luhui Whitebear is an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies at OSU, who’s helped organize the event. She says it was a tough decision.
“It was hard because the students really wanted to get that experience, helping organize a pow-wow. This is a big part of being able to express yourself on a college campus for students, and to share culture with the local community.”
With COVID rates decreasing due to pandemic measures and vaccinations, organizers say the 44th annual Klatowa Ina Pow-Wow is back this Saturday.
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today.
Leave a Reply