Gwichin to follow caribou migration to protest ANWR development bill

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gwich'in Natives from the U.S. and Canada will follow the Porcupine caribou herd to their calving grounds this summer to protest renewed efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Gwich'in leaders announced what they called a ''Millennium Trek'' at a news conference Tuesday at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The 650-mile trip will begin in Canada and take place Aug. 10-24.

''Our people have never gone to the birthing grounds before,'' said Gladys Netro, an organizer of the trek. ''That is a very sacred place. It's a place where life begins. And now, because of the threat and because of this critical stage we're in, we will be going to the birthing grounds.''

Last week Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, included a provision to open the coastal plain of the refuge to oil and gas leasing as part of a national energy policy bill.

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