Press release from the Gwich’in Steering Committee
Fairbanks, Alaska—The Gwich’in Nation of Alaska and Canada applaud the decision by JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, to rule out financing new oil and gas drilling on sacred lands of the Gwich’in that is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Over the last two years, members of the Gwich’in Steering Committee have met with representatives from Chase to urge them not to support the destruction of the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain, which is sacred to the Gwich’in Nation and critical to their food security and way of life.
“We’re thankful that the largest bank in the country recognizes that the Arctic Refuge is no place for drilling,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee. “Disturbing these lands would devastate the Porcupine Caribou Herd and our people’s way of life’ We hope that other banks and oil companies take note that our human rights and the health of our people will not be dismissed. We demand the protection of our homelands and will continue to stand in solidarity for our ways of life as the Gwich’in have done forever.”
Chase’s new policy rules out financing oil drilling in the Arctic, as well as new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects worldwide. Today’s announcement follows the release of a similar policy update by Goldman Sachs, as well as more than a dozen global banks.
The Gwich’in Nation thanks JPMorgan Chase for listening to the voice of the indigenous peoples of Alaska. Our ways of life and our identity is not up for negotiation. We will not sit back and allow oil companies and banks institutes to come into our homelands and do as they please.
“It’s amazing that these banks have listened and understood us, because they have an important role in safeguarding the future for all of us,” said Demientieff. The fight is far from over and we will continue to hold those accountable who seek to destroy our homelands.”
Date of publication: 25 Feb 2020
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