The people of Klukwan have been forced to give up their language and much of their land. Will the village be forced to give up the source of the fish that sustains it as well? Melissa Block reports for NPR:
Now, the village of Klukwan is facing a potential threat of a different order.
About 10 miles upstream from the village, a Canadian mining company is in the middle stages of exploring and drilling for a copper-zinc-silver-gold mine.
According to the company, Constantine Metal Resources, Ltd., the site is a high-grade deposit discovery with “tremendous expansion potential.”
If that mine goes through, the tribe is deeply worried about environmental threats to the Chilkat River and the fish they depend on for their food supply.
The river feeds them, just as it fed their ancestors. The people of Klukwan fish for salmon right outside their back door.
As we walk along the river, the two sisters, Lani Hotch and Kimberley Strong, point out the fish-cleaning tables along its banks, and the smokehouses people have built behind their homes to cure their fish.