The San Francisco Chronicle writes today about two indigenous communities in Alaska affected by proposals to drill in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The story is intriguing because the two communities have opposing views on drilling. In sum:
In Kaktovik, a village at the northern edge of the oil-rich coastal plain of the refuge, 280 Inupiat Eskimos have been waiting more than 25 years to find out if they can drill on land they hold inside the refuge. [They seek new economic opportunities.]
And the Gwich’in, a caribou-hunting tribe whose 8,000 members are scattered across 15 villages in Canada and along the refuge’s southern border in Alaska, fear that drilling in the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd could jeopardize their major food source and their culture.
It’s a different take on the drilling debate … one that features two groups that are both concerned about decisions made in Washington but for different reasons. And it is mindful of the fact that native people are not uniformly against drilling. Just as opinions about resource development differ within aboriginal communities, opinions differ between communities too.