Good for Who?

Drilling for Oil on Native Land in Alaska

The word “Trump” has appeared on several news headlines. Just a mention of our President is sure to ignite passions and bring about intense debate. However as a result of this polarization, a majority of the actions that the Trump administration has taken have been overshadowed. 


Oil is an important commodity, but what happens if it’s found on Native American land? Does it mean the Natives will be coerced into selling the land? Does it mean the United States government has to right to drill around Inuit Land? The oil exploration and spills can and will ruin their way of life. 


Currently, about 28.3 million acres of federal land across Alaska could be transferred, sold or opened up to extractive development, according to a new Center for American Progress analysis of the federal government’s land management actions in the state. The Inuit people rely on this land to live. However, they could also desperately use the money. 


The Inuit peoples are divided. As a result of poverty, some want to cash in on the money that they would receive for the land. Many have worried about the harmful effect it would have on their future, and as a result many of the members of the Inuit tribe are fighting against the movement to buy their land. 


Natanine, who is one of the Inuit members against drilling, gave an interval to Huffpost. He counseled, “You have to fight it. Do anything you can to stop it.” Potential damage would not be limited to the animals in the direct path of seismic blasts. Other animals, including polar bears, feed on marine mammals, while hunters and their families depend on Arctic animals for food, skins, and other supplies. The blasting could also affect migration patterns for seals, whales, fish and waterfowl.”


Blasting could, Natanine argued, destroy “the whole ecology of the area.”


These Inuit peoples won their legal battle against Canada. There won’t be seismic testing for oil in Canadian lands. 


According to the Guardian, “The Trump administration is finalizing plans to allow oil and gas drilling in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that has been protected for decades. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will offer leases on essentially the entire 1.6m-acre coastal plain, which includes places where threatened polar bears have dens and porcupine caribou visit for calving. Drilling operations are expected to be problematic for Indigenous populations, many of which rely on subsistence hunting and fishing.”


This bill can’t go through. It’s more important to preserve our environment than it’s ever been before. While the need for money may seem urgent, itś important to respect heritage and plan for the future. 


Instead of trying to take land away from the Inuit tribe, the government should offer aid. Instead of taking advantage of poverty, the government should offer aid. Instead of repeating the sins of the past, the government should offer aid.