Friday, August 11, 2006

Native activists protect the North-west's natural heritage

In the 1950s, Dr. Edward Teller ("Father of the H-Bomb") championed a scheme to use nuclear weapons to carve out a harbor in Arctic Alaska. Successful resistance to "Project Chariot" united native villages.
says Joel Connelly in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The North-west's beauty is continually under threat. Under that beauty lies much mineral wealth and on it many trees. Without outspoken environmentalists and an increasingly activist native population, we would be left with a lot less of that natural beauty than we have today. You can imagine the scorn that was heaped by its protagonists on those who opposed using a nuclear bomb to change the Alaska coastline. We hear that scorn today directed at "tree huggers" etc. Yet it often takes that kind of activism to put the brakes on the land and resource hunger/greed.

and, again from Connelly:

In British Columbia, native leaders in ceremonial robes blocked logging trucks on Lyell Island in the Queen Charlottes. The protest helped create Canada's Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

According to Connelly, without the public exposure of the 2010 Olympics, we might be without most of the South Chilcotin Provincial park.
Vancouver newspapers love to depict B.C. environmentalists as strident and unreasonable, while putting industry's plans in the friendliest focus. With natives, however, the sneering stops.

No comments: