Earth Law Bolsters Bid by Angoon Community Association to Protect and Restore the Natural Environment


Photo by University of Alaska

Source: University of Alaska                                    

For centuries, indigenous peoples have lived in harmony with the ecosystems they are a part of. Rights of nature are in line with indigenous culture’s traditional worldview and conceptions that we are all connected. The Native Tlingit people of Alaska, whose name translates to “People of The Tides,” have called the Southeastern Alaskan shoreline home for thousands of years. Much of their diet consists of local seafood and other native species.

The Tlingit people are facing an issue from the Green Creaks Mining company. Green Creaks is encroaching on natural land in Hawk Inlet by infesting it with their dumping. This infected water disturbs local fauna, and creatures as far as sixty miles away in Angoon, where a large Tlingit population resides. As coastlines recede more of the dangerous minerals from the mining company are breaching further away from its dumping site. We have to re-examine policy to keep up with changing environmental systems. 

ELC is working closely with the Angoon Community Association (ACA) in Angoon Alaska to address the myriad of issues ACA and their environment face. This includes indigenous sovereignty, pollution in Hawk Inlet and gray water in the Chatham Straits. ELC is assisting with amendments to ACA’s tribal constitution, ensuring the recognition of nature’s rights.

The Tlingit people and other tribes banded together to create a coalition to tackle these problems that impact indigenous people’s way of life. The Angoon Community Association tackles the various issues that prevent Angoon citizens from having to say in issues related to their home and surrounding area, along with being a bastion for community outreach. 

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