Help keep our waters pristine in Southeast Alaska

Help keep our waters pristine in Southeast Alaska

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Joel Dáxhajóon Jackson started this petition

A petition to the Alaska State Legislature

This petition has been put forward by Joel Dáxhajóon Jackson, Tlingit leader, and a lifelong resident of Kake Alaska who currently serves as the council president of the federally recognized tribe, the Organized Village of Kake. 

As a lifelong resident of Ḵéex̱ʼ Ḵwáan known as Kake Alaska I have been a strong supporter of protecting our way of life, of lands and waters for future generations. 

Please stand with our communities in Southeast Alaska in support of keeping the Ocean Ranger Program in law. This program was developed in 2006 to keep our waters protected from international Cruise companies illegally dumping into our waters.

Join us in calling on our Alaska State Legislators, at a minimum, to leave the statutory framework for this important program in place. SB 180 and HB 303, as currently written, seek to remove the Ocean Rangers from law. Together we can speak up and ensure it stays in place. 

Our Indigenous communities have been here for over 10,000 years and we have been very cautious of what we discharge into our waters and our lands. The lands and water sustain us from year to year.  We have taken very good care of everything. It is very concerning to us and our Native communities to have these big ships going out and discharging waste into our waters here by Kake, Alaska and the rest of our Southeast Alaskan communities.

The most important thing in our rural communities is making sure we take care of our lands and waters around us, because it is very important to our way of life that we have pristine forests to hunt and gather off the land. The same is true of our waters to fish and we fish from our streams and the ocean whether it be salmon and halibut, and also we hunt from seal in these waters. We gather from the tidelands all around us, whether it's clams, seaweeds or other greens that we pick off the beach. It is important that we also continue our cultural practice called dashóoch, cold water bathing also known as dipping, where we go into the ocean for as long as we can all year long. So it's very important that we keep these areas pristine.

From what we hear on reports from the cruise industry and what we've seen personally on what they do out here in our waters as they pass by, they will dump what they call gray water in the channel out there as long as they are three miles off shore they can do that. We have run across the back of ships and you can actually see the different colors and smell the discharge they are releasing. That discharge has to go somewhere, and we have very strong currents out there. When it goes in, it is rushing in, and when it goes out, it is rushing out. Even when they are three miles offshore, that discharge reaches our shores on both sides of the channel. That is very concerning. The gray water as well as other discharges can include a number of unknown substances, which is very concerning to our fish and shorelines, and possible contamination of our seaweeds and other plants that grow on our shoreline that we eat, as well as other wildlife out there. This is very concerning. 

If these cruise industries want to come to Alaska they should pack out what they bring in, leaving no trace in our water. That is what the cruise industry should do and discharge it into the proper facilities, instead of out in our pristine waters. 

They have federal felony violations of dumping things into the waters they shouldn't be and it's very important that these cruise industries are held accountable for making sure that they don't dump anything else that isn't supposed to be in our waters. That they are held accountable by law. 

The only way to do that is to continue this Ocean Rangers program that has been around since 2006.

Tell the Alaska State Legislature to keep the Ocean Rangers program in State Law. 

Gunalchéesh, Háwʼaa for your support. 

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!