Activists displayed a banner from a downtown building Wednesday, declaring Alaska’s Northwest Arctic Refuge “not for sale.”
Part of an effort coordinated by two Alaska Native activist groups, Defend the Sacred Alaska and Native Movement, banners were placed in downtown Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks in Alaska. They were also unfurled in cities across the nation and even as far away as the United Kingdom, where activists placed a banner inside the British Museum.
The text of the banner reads “Sacred Lands Not For Sale — Stop Arctic Oil Extraction” and is a reference to the Trump administration’s decision in August to begin leasing tracts of land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for resource development.
“Extraction on the coastal plain has been opposed for decades by both Gwich’in and Iñupiaq advocates. Known as ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins’ to the Gwich’in Nation, the coastal plain is vital to the health of the Porcupine caribou herd. This land has also sustained the Iñuit since time immemorial and continues to sustain the Kaktovik People today,” the groups said in a joint news release.
The release said banners were scheduled to be dropped in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Photos of the banners hanging in cities around the state and nation are being posted on social media.
BREAKING! Today we are at @britishmuseum taking action to protect the #Arctic from oil drilling in sacred lands, in solidarity with @NativeMovement & @DefendtheSacredAK #ProtectTheArctic #StandWithTheGwichin #InupiatGwichinSolidarity #DefendTheSacredAK #NativeMovement pic.twitter.com/YTTjzeMMVg— BP or not BP? (@drop_BP) October 21, 2020
“Indigenous leaders and allies across the country will join the efforts of Alaskans in calling on corporations and the Trump administration to put a stop to this fast-tracked sham of a process to extract Arctic oil with a blatant disregard for Indigenous human rights,” the release said.
Native Movement Juneau did not immediately respond to request for comment.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.