Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/30/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Longest inhabitants of North America fear their delicate food chain will be disrupted

The Inuit community of the coast of Alaska is North America's longest known inhabitants, with a lineage dating back to 800 B.C. Now, Shell Oil has finally been given permission to begin exploratory drilling there after decades of legal wrangling. The native people there view this development with dread, as they far it will cut off the delicate marine life that is their main source of food.

The ritual of the Inupiat is dictated by environmental concerns. They are only allowed to catch 10 bowhead whales a year and the first nine boats to harpoon the whale receive shares.

The ritual of the Inupiat is dictated by environmental concerns. They are only allowed to catch 10 bowhead whales a year and the first nine boats to harpoon the whale receive shares.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/30/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bowhead whale, Inuit, Alaska, oil exploration, drilling, environmental concerns, food supply


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fishing and hunting are central to the Inupiat way of life, in particular the Bowhead whale.  "We are the oldest continuous inhabitants of North America," Point Hope's Mayor Steve Oomituk says. "We've been here thousands of years."

The small community of only 800 people fears that their food chain will be destroyed. Over 80 percent of the food eaten in Point Hope is caught by the people themselves.

They say that the exploration will disrupt the migration routes of the marine mammals, driving them away from the coastal waters. "Their proposed Arctic drilling is right in the path of the animals' migration routes," Oomituk says.

"We live in a cycle of life that hasn't changed for thousands of years. We know where the animals are coming. We know when they are going north, when they are going south, this is our home, our land, our identity as a people."

Oomituk recognizes the national need for an independent fuel source. A very poor community, jobs are also a major concern. While he says that many people would benefit from a new local employer, it would end a way of life here that has endured for thousands of years.

"You want jobs for the people, you want the economy to come up, but do you want to sacrifice your way of life to have that happen? To endanger a way of life that's been here for time immemorial?"

The ritual of the Inupiat is dictated by environmental concerns. They are only allowed to catch 10 bowhead whales a year and the first nine boats to harpoon the whale receive shares. The lead whaling crew divides the head between them. The butchered skull is then returned to the sea, whereupon the skull will "dress itself again" and become another whale. The flipper is then pickled and offered to the elders.

The U.S. Congress imposed a moratorium on offshore oil or gas drilling in 1981. A move to explore the nation's natural resources in order to provide an independent energy source has gained momentum over the last several years. Onetime vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin called for an end to the ban, with the slogan "Drill, baby, drill". President Barack Obama at one time opposed it, but once elected, he allowed drilling in some offshore areas, including the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska.

"If they have jobs I will work for them no problem," one resident says. He adds that "If an oil rig spilled and made a mess of the ocean, how am I ever going to eat a whale that's not contaminated? Crude oil stays on the bottom of the ocean."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... continue reading


Guliani/ Dyson Debate: Racism is Sin. Legitimate Social Analysis and Questions are Not Watch

Image of Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown Sociology Professor and media commentator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

By Keith A. Fournier

I do not believe that the comments of the former Mayor of New York revealed racism or what the Professor of Sociology called "white supremacy". Rather, he raised matters concerning sociological statistics which need to be considered as we all seek to further the ... continue reading


Binge drinking: Only 10 percent of those who 'drink too much' are alcoholic Watch

Image of Women who have eight or more drinks per week and men who have 15 or more are considered heavy drinkers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The information would appear to encourage even more irresponsible behavior over the holidays . but a recent study says that only a small percentage of adults who "drink too much" are clinically alcoholic. The other 90 percent just, well, drink too much. LOS ... continue reading


Walmart, priding itself in war against hunger, has employees dependent on food banks Watch

Image of A day of protests against Walmart have been planned for the upcoming Black Friday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Having a job in the United States is a guarantee of food on the table - unless of course, you are a Walmart employee. Cashiers at the world's biggest retailer earn $8.48 an hour, which is above the minimum wage - but not enough to feed the average family. LOS ... continue reading


Another example of Imperialism! Why Obama fired Hagel Watch

Image of Secretary of Defense Chuch Hagel, often voiced frustration with Obama's administration and foreign policies and was never really admitted into the president's inner circle.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned from his cabinet post, partially in response to the growing number of military conflicts and global crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hagel, the only Republican on ... continue reading


In the fight against liberal revisionism, Texas strikes major blow Watch

Image of The Texas Board of Education has voted to approve textbooks which they claim will fight back against a growing liberal school system.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas has approved controversial new history textbooks which have been criticized by academics as more full of politics than true history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 5 million public school students will use the new textbooks in fall of 2015, after ... continue reading


OUTRAGE - Middle school principal suspended over active shooter drill Watch

Image of Active shooter drills are becoming more common on school campuses, but they're also controversial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A school district in Florida has acted responsibly in suspending a middle school principal who staged an "active shooter drill" on her school campus which terrified children into believing that their lives were in danger. Similar drills have come into vogue across the ... continue reading


The Marriage Meme of Francis: What Did the Pope Just Say about Marriage and Family? Watch

Image of Pope Francis presiding at a marriage Liturgy at St Peters.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis embraces the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family as the sole Meme - using the word properly.  That is why you will not read much about the crystal ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 15:1-4
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2014 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter