Why Native Alaskans Support Shell’s Arctic Drilling

Gcaptain has a good new article on Alaskan Native support for Arctic oil drilling.

The POLAR PIONEER began drilling 70 miles NW of Point Hope on July 30th.

While I am happy to see Greenpeace’s (among others) usage of Native Alaskans as a marketing tool in their opposition to Arctic drilling called out, the article you referenced is doing the same, if only in support of drilling. Native Alaskans and particularly, as it pertains to this issue, the Iñupiat people are not some abstract idea to be commodified and turned into political ammunition by oil companies and their lackeys or uppity urban environmentalists from the lower 48. This is not a cut and dry issue; it is messy and involves many factors that affect the local people and their economy, way of life, and identity.

That paternalism Charlotte Brower referenced in her letter to Gov. Inslee is manifested in ways she mentioned and in non-Natives claiming to speak for them. Claiming to know what’s best for these people sure smells a little racist doesn’t it?

When the Point Hope Natives joined Greenpeace’s suit against Shell several years ag that was significant

When the Point Hope Natives dropped out of the lawsuit and invested in Shell’s Arctic drilling venture 70 miles from their homes that was even more significant.

Just saw the Illiamna Natives on TV this morning saying that they wanted the jobs and income from the Pebble Mine (a project I do not support ). They are angry at the NRDC for killing the Pebble Mine.

It is certainly significant when the Native corporations decide to support or oppose these projects. It would be wise though, to keep in mind these decisions are made by the powerful within the corporations and not always with the consensus of the membership. This brings up the issues of share splitting to allow the newer generations of Alaska Natives to become shareholders, but that’s another conversation.

[ATTACH]4269[/ATTACH]It probably doesn’t have much to do with a great love or respect for the environment.