Opinion: Keep Alaska’s pristine wild lands free of poisonous industrial mining – by Seth Kantner (Seattle Times – January 19, 2022)


Seth Kantner lives in northern Alaska and is a commercial fisherman and the author of “Ordinary Wolves” and recently released, “A Thousand Trails Home: Living With Caribou.”

This fall before the ice froze, I started a letter to President Joe Biden. I was gathering cranberries on the hill above the old sod igloo where I was born and raised, thinking while my hands worked, thinking about food, and health, and how here that is the definition of success.

The berries were still liquid, soft and not easy to pick without crushing. They stained my fingers pink where my nails and knuckles weren’t coated dark with blood from the caribou I’d hunted earlier, for meat. I hadn’t found snow to wash my hands.

To the north, caribou were white dots migrating on the distant brown tundra. That night I planned to slice a caribou heart to fry and was hurrying to make a cranberry pie as well.

As I plucked at the fragile berries, I wanted to tell the president how my family, and so many before mine, have gathered berries here over the years, and salmon and countless other fish, beavers and ducks and geese, mushrooms and bird eggs, wild onions, and of course caribou. Wolf skins, too, and mink pelts, and warm caribou hides, all from this land and these waterways.

For the rest of this column: https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/keep-alaskas-pristine-wild-lands-free-of-poisonous-industrial-mining/