|Contact:||Mary Coyle, 924-1964 or
Michael Padilla 277-1816
April 19, 2001
Resident from Alaskas Arctic Village to speak at UNM
James, a Gwichin from Alaskas Arctic Village, will discuss the threat
of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would pose to her culture,
Friday, April 27 at the University of New Mexico in Dane Smith Hall, room 125
from noon to 1:30 p.m.
James will speak on behalf of the Gwichin Steering Committee, which she
founded in 1988 to establish Gwichin cultural survival as a major issue
in the debate over oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
James will discuss the key role the New Mexico congressional delegation plays
in deciding the fate of the Refuge. Each member of the delegation sits on a
committee involved in federal energy policy.
Known as the People of the caribou, the Gwichin have lived
for more than 20,000 years in the Arctic, along the Porcupine caribou route.
The caribou, which travel every year to the Arctic Refuge coastal plain to calve,
are their primary source of food, clothing and shelter. Drilling in the Arctic
Refuge would disrupt the life-cycle of the caribou, leaving the Gwichin
without this sustenance.
I want to teach people of all nations the importance of caring for our
mother earth for future generations, James said. I want to pass
the experience, the wisdom, and the knowledge of our elders for the survival
of future generations.
The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).
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of New Mexico
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