Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan? indigenous input?

The Orca and Beluga represent "communities sharing together" logo by Ole Lake, ABVN adviser
 Despite only having a few hours to put together comments on the on-going extreme environmental racism saga of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale and Alaska Native hunters, I was able to scramble up what I saw missing in the 289-page plan.  Despite the government taking over 10 years to finally come up with a plan after spending 30 years blaming Alaska Native hunters and creating massive regulatory controls on hunters, they have finally created a plan.   All this is while the Cook Inlet Municipalities, Boroughs, Military and Industries all have free reign to dump sewage, anit-freeze (airports), munitions, oil, drilling fluids (including radioactive materials), etc.   

The list goes on and on for allowing "Progress and Development" to continue in Cook Inlet, while the most restricted group of peoples are local indigenous peoples, whom the government blames for Beluga population declines. while they ignore their own laws on pollution and egregious dumping in the Beluga birthing grounds.   This shows folks what is really to come in the Arctic as we continue to allow American laws and regulations to be bypassed for "progress and development" of the "last frontier".

Here's a few words in the saga addressing the most racist environmental case in Alaska:

Public Comment
By Carl Wassilie, Yupiaq Biologist
Alaska’s Big Village Network
  RE:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Notice: Endangered and Threatened Species; Draft Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on this extremely important document regarding Recovery of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Beluga) that indigenous peoples of Cook Inlet have been gravely concerned about since time immemorial.   Cook Inlet Tribes have developed Recovery Plans for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) listed the Beluga under the federal Endanger Species Act (ESA).  The inter-tribal ordinance for the Recovery is included in the Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Councils minutes in 2005. [ORDINANCE 042005-01]

The National Marine Fisheries Service Draft Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Beluga) fails to provide a full picture of historic, ongoing threats and potential catastrophic effects within the full seasonal ranges of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale.  The missing pieces in this plan includes the Beluga’s migratory pathway and the food species for the Beluga that also migrates outside of the “feeding” areas and “birthing” areas that are threatened.  The Beluga and the species the Beluga feeds on are all traditional food sources for thousands of indigenous peoples and multiple cultural groups in the Cook Inlet and North Pacific Regions.
Due to the timing of the public comment period during fishing season and summer activities on the land and water, many local fisher-peoples and indigenous communities have not been able to comment.
Additionally, the 289 page document can be overwhelming for indigenous communities whose English is limited and proficiency may be lacking.   The effects of the decimation and continued decline in the health of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale is a concern to all indigenous peoples that historically traded beyond NOAAs scope and regional Tribal outreach that should include across mountain passes to the West and to the North as noted by Shem Pete’s historical analysis.
I have broken my comments based on my indigenous perception of the NMFS Draft Recovery Plan into 3 categories of missing information:   Military, Oil spills, Earthquakes

A.       Military
The Navy is completely left out of the entire document despite the historic, ongoing and potential threats and effects on the Beluga recovery.   Especially important is identifying the effects of military sonar on all living organisms.
As recent as May 6, 2015, the city of Cordova, Alaska, passed a resolution “to oppose Navy Training Exercises in the Gulf of Alaska in June 2015.”   Eyak Preservation Council protested on May 16, 2015, with over 100 boats and hundreds in a peaceful demonstration against the Navy's planned live fire training activities in the Gulf of Alaska.

According to the EIS preferred plans, these "war games" will involve use of high frequency and mid-frequency sonar for submarine exercises, plus a wide variety of live weapons and explosives deployment - bombs, heavy deck guns, torpedoes, missiles, large carrier strikes (ships blown up & sunk) none of which will ever be recovered. Although military training exercises have been conducted in the GOA intermittently for the last 30 years, those proposed in the current EIS are a massive increase from any conducted before
(e.g. a 6,500% increase in sonobuoys).

The Navy has applied for permits to conduct training exercises in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) for up to 42 days (from April to October) annually for a five-year period. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the permitting agency with support from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Navy is required to complete a supplemental EIS (to be released 01/2016) that included a 60-day comment period from August to October of 2014. The Supplemental EIS will be for the next round of permits (2016 – 2021). Previous trainings for 2010 – 2015 were permitted, yet no trainings have been conducted yet. 2015 is the first year these trainings will take place.”
Emily Stolarcyk / Eyak Preservation Council

B.       Oil spills
                Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) has had significant effects and continues to harm the North Pacific Ecosystem.   EVOS has had short-term and long-term impacts that continues to directly affect food availability of multiple species for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale.   Indigenous Science and Knowledge confirms some of the results of ecosystem science completed over the years on the Gulf of Alaska and effects of the EVOS.
                The chronic discharge of oil and hazardous substances by the oil and gas industry over the lifetime of activities in Cook Inlet still has yet to be examined comprehensively despite organizations such as Cook Inlet Keeper insistence to evaluate “authorized” discharges into the critical habitat of the Beluga.

Spread of Oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez ongoing disaster

C.       Earthquake- 1964
The 1964 Earthquake was an extremely catastrophic event in Cook Inlet that was completely left out of the Background of the Recovery Plan and was significant for a multitude of reasons.   The 1964 Earthquake not only changed the physical habitat and altered some of the localized nutrient cycles.   Toxic chemicals and damaged infrastructure also leaked into Cook Inlet and Gulf of Alaska from the 1964 Earthquake.   

The Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami of March 27, 1964

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Today's "Savage" Blog from Nayiq:

Today's "Savage" Blog from Nayiq:

Celebrating a colonial holiday?  The hypocrisy of the Declaration of Independence?

July 5, 2015

In today's post, we will highlight Frederick Douglass, [c. 1818-1895] a former slave and eminent human rights leader in the abolition movement.  Douglass was the publisher of the "North Star," after he became a "freed" slave in the North.  The motto of The North Star was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."

The goal of the abolitionist movement is the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation; of which, today is linked to anti-oppression movements globally and is the work of Alaska's Big Village Network in the Arctic.

Frederick Douglass brilliantly reminds us of important narrative of history as he busted out of the savagery of colonial slavery and speaks Truth to the matter of Justice and Freedom.

Many of Douglass' points resonate with my soul today in the savage veil of "Alaska Native" policies that  literally regulates Alaska Native peoples in to submission to unjust and unfair rules and regulations and goes against the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  One of the vectors of unjust illegal policies is the "extermination" of Alaska Native peoples, and exclusionary US legislative practices of restricting fiduciary responsibility to Alaska Tribes.  Most of the Human Rights implications occur through unjust plenary practices of the US Congress through provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act [ ]
The current practice of excluding Alaska Tribes inalienable rights is highlighted by recent amendments by US Senator, Lisa Murkowski, restricting Alaska Native victims suffrage in the Violence Against Women Act.  [ ]

I briefly touched on this in previous blog post as well; such as "Yupik Human Rights violated: Subsistence Fishing" [ ] 

I'd like to share some important points of Douglass' speech in his 4th of July Oration in a New York day of July 5, 1852 that he summarily called "The Meaning of the July Fourth for the Negro".
[ ]

The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

by Frederick Douglass
  Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852

"....Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it..." 

"....On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

"Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."

"....Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day...."

"...What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour...."

"....Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion...."

"....The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in its connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that 'There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it....' " 

"...Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery...."

by Frederick Douglass

  Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852

To further address the principles of the revered USA Declaration of Independence that stands as a pillar to Justice and Freedom in which "all men created equal" is paramount to the "We the People" Constitutional finality in 1789.  The US Constitution was ratified 12 years after the Declaration of Independence against the Tyranny of British subjugation.


CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness......
 "....The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.....He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." 
[ ]

The Declaration of Independence—Except for 'Indian Savages'-  by Adrian Jawort

"....Jefferson is most credited for penning this famous document, it was written by a committee of 5 people – including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams – and ratified 86 times by the Continental Congress before becoming official and signed. So this was a carefully mulled over phrase in that Natives would forever be considered “savages” in regards to their future relations with the U.S....."


It's tough to take the opinions of those deemed a lesser “merciless Indian savage” serious, apparently—much less honor their treaty rights. When the brutal history and unfair treatment of Natives is brought up in the Redskins controversy, it seemingly elevates patronizing attitudes toward American Indians' arguments. “Just get over it,” is a dismissive phrase frequently said. But how can American Indians simply “get over it” when the primary founding document of the U.S. still condescendingly refers to them as a “savage” to this day?
----  Adrian Jawort is a proud Northern Cheyenne writer living in Montana




The British are coming!   The British are coming!  

Fight back America.   

Defend our Coast.  Protect the Arctic!


sHell is  a global bully violating international Human Rights policies and United States laws and regulations that were enacted to protect American resources and American coasts. 
[ ]
 The US Government is bypassing and exempting its own laws like the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and a slew of Security Acts that were designed to protect Americans from threats to our National Security and National Interest from exploitation from threats like Royal Dutch Shell.

Alaskans and People of conscience are standing up to protect and defend the Peace and Security of HUMANKIND against the government and societal tyrants oppressing Alaska Native Peoples, which include international criminals such as sHell oil company.

The principles of the Revolt against British colonialism that gave birth to the USA in 1776 must be upheld by all citizens for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.   Today, Alaska's Big Village Network is overcoming complacency by the governments and uprooting oppressive systems that allow foreign companies like Shell to exploit America's resources and harm Arctic indigenous peoples.

British profiteers running a company called Royal Dutch Shell must be turned back from the Arctic. Stand UP America! The Revolution to free ourselves of oppressive British control is still continuing in the Arctic. Defend our Seas and Humanity.

ShellNo! Alaska mosquito Fleet rise up! Defenders of our Seas are uniting for Earth! Patriots of Liberty are here!

 Shell No Alaska!

shell's primary drilling rig, Noble Discoverer, slow to leave Everett after kayaktavist put their bodies in the water to defend the Seas in Arctic.  July 30, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

sHell No! Save our Arctic Ocean: Paddle in Seattle Flotilla: Salish Sea to Arctic Ocean

 Salish Sea
May 14-18, 2015
Alaska's Big Village Network
Defend our Wild Salmon:  sHell No!  Save our Arctic Ocean: sHell No! Campaign

For nearly a decade, Alaska's Big Village Network has been defending Alaska's Oceans from industrial expansion into the world's last wild fishery nurseries.  In the 1970's, Alaskans defended Bristol Bay from sHell; now Alaskans are defending the Arctic Ocean from sHell.
Coastal Salish canoe families supporting sHell No and Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope defending Arctic Ocean from sHell Oil's drilling rig

Coastal Salish Sea Canoe Families traditional landing at historical Duwamish gathering site

After 5 weeks of kayak safety trainings and organizing by Backbone Campaign and allies, Kayaktivists follow lead of  Coastal Salish Canoe families to surround sHell drilling rig in Port of Seattle's  Terminal 5 on the Duwamish River.

Water blockade demonstration in front of sHell's "Polar Pioneer" drilling rig at mouth of Duwamish River in Salish Sea

Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Tribal Vice President George Edwardson, speaks with wisdom about protecting the Arctic Ocean from offshore mineral exploitation.   Many Inupiat whalers are not only defending their culture, but the last nurseries of Wild Salmon Habitat and the myraid of sea mammals that feed off the salmon nursery in the Arctic.
Seattle defenders of the ocean take to the street near the Terminal 5 where sHell breaks local and national laws parking their extremely risky drilling rig against the City of Seattle Mayors wishes

Duwamish Tribal leader Ken Workman with Duwamish Tribal Chair, Cecile Hansen overseeing the ariel banner that reads "Cheif Seattle is Watching" with the sHell drilling rig, "Polar Pioneer",  in background.   This picture is in the same place where Cheif Seattle watched Captain Vancouver command the "Discovery" in the spring of 1792 in colonial expansion into the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Honoring Perry Ave. Community Farm and Sweet Water Foundation in South Chicago

James St. Goddard, spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Confederacy (Montana), travels to Chicago, Illinois on a mission to "wake up" America to stop the destruction and devastation of Mother Earth.  An inter-tribal delegation of Indigenous Peoples and People of Color met with some South Chicago community leaders, scholars, chefs and urban farmers in South Chicago's poorest neighborhood.  Restoring communities back to harmony with Nature and Mother Earth is a mission of St. Goddard and Alaska's Big Village Network.

Alaska's Big Village Network witnessed a spiritual honoring ceremony in Chicago's poorest neighborhood, one of the largest "food deserts" or food prisons in the US.   Sweet Water Foundation and Perry Ave. Community Farm are working in South Chicago to uplift the community out of poverty and return people to their natural roots in the soil overcoming the negative ills of the built environment.

James St. Goddard, spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Confederacy talks about indigenous ways of being at the THINK-DO lab at South Chicago's Sweet Water Foundation headquarters
James St. Goddard and 3-year and 9-year old sons pray and bless Perry Ave. Community Farm
James St. Goddard ordains Orrin Williams as a spiritual leader

St. Goddard sings prayer and honor song in Chicago's poorest neighborhood

Sweet Water Foundation headquarters after Orrin Williams ordination and prayers at Perry Ave. Community Farm in South Chicago

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring '15 Food Sovereignty Tour: Great Lakes Region

Alaska's Big Village Network Spring '15 Food Sovereignty Tour:

CHICAGO:  Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:

University of Illinois, Chicago










Spring 2015 Food Sovereignty Series:

International Peasants Day: Forum on Food Sovereignty
April 16th 2015
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum 800 South Halsted
3-5:30pm Food and Justice Storytelling

Learn about La Via Campesina’s (International Peasants Movement) Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty through personal stories of food, land and culture shared by diverse organizers, farmers, peasants, cultural workers and Indigenous activists.
6-8:30pm Community meal and conversation about building interconnected local movements for a healthy and just food system. Learn about the history of International Peasants Day and its significance to landless farmers in Brazil. Discover why dairy farmers from Wisconsin choose this as a day to travel to Chicago to protest unfair prices and policies that bankrupt family farmers and draw attention to a global movement of peasants defending their livelihoods. Topics will include: water protection, Fair Trade, climate justice, land rights, cultural resilience and Indigenous struggles. Alaska's Big Village Network Center for Water Advocacy Center for Water Advocacy
Zona Abierta
At the Frontline of Climate Change

Monday, April 20, 2015
3:00pm to 4:30pm
Latino Cultural Center
Lecture Center B2, please note that this event in the series is not at the Hull-House Museum
FREE refreshments and admission

Presented by the UIC Latino Cultural Center, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the Native American Support Program

How can we draw on cultural heritage’s values and practices to address climate change?

Join us for an interactive conversation with members of Alaska’s Big Village Network as they address the effects of climate change in their own communities. Due to the rapid increase of oil, gas, and hard rock mining, it has caused significant impacts that is forcing Native communities to permanently relocate because of uninhabitable housing and health conditions. Learn how ABVN is working closely with local and national organizations to advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental sovereignty.

Alaska’s Big Village Network works to address the socioeconomic and environmental disparities in rural and urban Alaska. ABVN works closely with scientific experts, scholars, and community members on innovative problem solving in order to address unmet human needs and cultural misunderstandings.

Rethinking Soup
Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Sovereignty
April 21st 2015, 12-1pm
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum 800 South Halsted Chicago

How can indigenous food culture be protected, honored and celebrated?

What is indigenous environmental sovereignty and how is it beneficial across cultures?

Industrial mineral extraction, pollution, climate change, and corrupt environmental policies threaten traditional life ways across the country. Join representatives from Alaska’s Big Village Network and the Buffalo Field Campaign to learn about the sacred role of buffalo and salmon and ways that communities are responding to urgent issues with resilience and creativity. Alaska's Big Village Network Center for Water Advocacy

Honoring Food, Water and Indigenous Culture: Building Inclusive Communities for Environmental Justice
Earth Day: April 22nd 2015
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum | 800 South Halsted

Nourishment: Nutritional, Cultural, and Political
A community meal celebrating salmon, a traditional subsistence food with indigenous activists from Alaska's Big Village Network, Buffalo Field Campaign and American Indian Center of Chicago.

Zhashagi, The Echo Maker
Film Screening and discussion with filmmaker Steve Zieverink and Alaska's Big Village Network
Zhashagi, The Echo Maker is an indigenous human rights film exploring the right to water, the environmental impacts of mining, and the lack of protection for sacred sites by the federal government. Focusing on the construction of Eagle Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along the shores of Lake Superior, Echo Maker tells the story of industry and the impact of choices upon the environment and peoples of the region.

Monday, January 5, 2015

NMFS to address massive takes of marine mammals in lawless Cook Inlet waters

NMFS to address massive harassment of marine mammals in lawless Cook Inlet waters by industrial activities

Plight of the critically endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whales needs a Recovery Plan to end racist and discriminatory policy and regulation blaming Alaska Native Hunters as scientist continue to call for more information before issuance of harassment authorizations from federal government.

RE:  Notice of Intent to Prepare and Environmental Impact Statement on the Issuance of Take Authorizations in Cook Inlet, Alaska

To:  Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS

Dear Ms. Harrison,

Alaska's Big Village Network (ABVN) is a free association of indigenous peoples creating communities of inclusion with non-indigenous peoples for the holistic betterment of community well-being and health for future generations.   

ABVN supports self-sufficiency and self-determination of Tribal Governments in Alaska as local authorities on jurisdictional tier with State and Federal agencies.   Furthermore, ABVN supports and advocates for Alaska Native hunters and fisherman (fisherwoman) to continue indigenous peoples way of  life for cultural and physical survival in Cook Inlet. 

 ABVN is guided by traditional wisdom of the indigenous elders and supports inclusion of indigenous science and Traditional Knowledge in decision-making processes.


Alaska's Big Village Network (ABVN) supports the preparation of a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to address human-derived impacts on marine mammals in Cook Inlet; particularly, the critically endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whale.  

ABVN recommends no further issuance of harassment authorizations until finalized review and issuance of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan with full participation of Tribal Governments, Alaska Native hunters, and indigenous peoples in Cook Inlet.   

ABVN recommends review of the Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council's Ordinance on monitoring, management, mitigation and recovery of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

Despite Alaska Native and Tribal stand-downs on subsistence harvest for the last 15 years, many industrial activities have increased and continued to operate without full analysis of effects of multiple activities over multiple years.   Environmental Justice implications to subsistence hunters have arisen a number of times due to the federal and state regulatory policies and procedures; or lack thereof of EIS and IHA permitting process' for full inclusion of tribal authorities.    Alaska Native subsistence hunters continue to have high levels of scrutiny and restrictions, while industry and municipalities continue to have exemptions on environmental laws and regulations as noted by other commenter such as Cook Inlet Keeper and the Marine Mammal Commission.

As NMFS develops the scoping analysis, I highly recommend including the white paper submitted by the Center for Water Advocacy to the Obama Administration titled “Water Justice in Alaska Native Communities” for a more comprehensive look on mechanisms and authorities for Tribal and Alaska Native inclusion. [ ]

The values and issues of marine mammals to Alaska Native hunters and fisherman are of significant spiritual, social, economic, cultural, mental and environmental status that needs further review by indigenous communities and formal consultation with Tribal Governments.   ABVN supports continued policy and development for an adequate process to maximize inclusion of tribal communities and Alaska Native peoples.


Alaska's Big Village Network incorporates comments from the Marine Mammal Commission and Natural Resource Defense Council for further details and scope of the issues to be addressed.
Carl Wassilie
Yupiaq Biologist