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HomeThe 907'Defend the Sacred' goes Antifa-style on ANWR drilling

‘Defend the Sacred’ goes Antifa-style on ANWR drilling

(3-minute read) ‘I WILL F—ING OWN YOUR SCALP!’

The Defend the Sacred group has been running the agenda of the public meetings on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area drilling plan.

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They showed up and disrupted the Fairbanks meeting last week with drumming, chanting, and yelling. They took over the meeting and federal officials barely managed to contain order.

On Monday, many of them showed up in Anchorage wearing Antifa-style bandanas, covering their faces. There were a lot of F-bombs thrown and extended middle fingers. Lots of signs and banners were raised, too.

They have a perspective: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drawn by Congress, is sacred to the Gwich’in people and their relationship with caribou, which they also consider sacred.

But they have a problem. The land doesn’t belong to them and it’s 150 miles away from their lands. It is an inconvenient fact.

When Power the Future spokesperson Rick Whitbeck spoke on behalf of resource development and the distance the drilling site is to Gwich’in land, he was shown the middle finger by some protesters, was booed by others and received at least one terroristic threat:

“I’ll will f–ing own your scalp!” one of the protesters said to Whitbeck as he closed his presentation.  “F– you, white man!”

Another protester made the case that if you drill a hole in the permafrost, it’s like driving an ice pick into her heart, and that an ice road is like slitting her wrists. She said if there’s drilling, she will commit suicide because she will have no more reason to live.

Teaching the children the art of Antifah protest, members of Defend the Sacred used young Native Alaskans in the protest against drilling in the 1002 area.

BLM officials originally planned an open house format so that people could gather actual facts before they state their opinion for the record.

But “the people” of Defend the Sacred were not in a mood to gather facts. About 50 of them turned their backs to a BLM representative as he explained the regulatory framework around drilling on the coastal plain, the only area in ANWR set aside for oil development.

Another group was outside the meeting room at the Dena’ina Center, however. They were about as large, and they were in favor of drilling. They were Inupiaq people from the North Slope. The two groups had a few words with each other during the day-long meeting.

The meeting was the last to be held in Alaska. A public meeting in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday will conclude that part of the public process, but comments will be taken until March 13 on the draft environmental impact statement.

Between 60-70 percent of Alaskans favor drilling in the 1002 Area, surveys show. At the Anchorage public meeting, the comments were roughly 50-50 for and against. But the most visible and loudest point of view was the one of the radical Defend the Sacred group.
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Always nice to be able to follow the money. Who is underwriting this protest (funding the travel, entertainment media coordination)?

  2. Well, there you go. Another invaluable non-discussion. Nothing more than hyped up garbage and screenshots that will look great to spread around their anti-this and anti-that sites for the MSM to glom onto. Communist News Network will probably have it on TV tonight.
    Whatever points of value that people have against drilling in the 1002, bring those discussion items to the table. Otherwise, they are nothing more than theater. Caricatures of themselves at this point. A well-known script. Blah, blah, blah.

    But, watch your mouth’s protesters. This is beyond a good washing out with soap. There is a line between free speech and terroristic threats and harming someone. I know it is a glorious photo-op to be in handcuffs with your little bandana-clad friends hopping around, screeching in admiration; however, once you’re in the pokey around here, your little stunts aren’t so cute.

  3. One important point not listed in this story is the native group’s position on Climate Change and how it is affecting their lifestyle.
    ADN wrote:
    “Sarah Siqiniq Maupin, an Utqiagvik resident with indigenous chin and forehead tattoos, said warming temperatures linked to increased oil development and greenhouse gas emissions has made the ice softer, endangering hunters traveling on frozen rivers and ocean.”
    “Climate change is devastating our world,” she said. “What happens in the Arctic affects everyone.”
    We are seeing this first hand in S.C. as rivers are open this winter and traditional routes out to hunting areas and remote cabins need “detours” in many zones.
    Several sled dog races have been canceled as well due to open water and overflow.
    Two long time Alaskans tragically died on Big Lake this winter due to thin ice.
    I do not condone the language that the protesters used, but I also have heard reports of the “F bomb” coming out of Congress these days…
    All in all it appeared a peaceful meeting with passion on both sides of this important national debate.

    • Uhhhh….and this means what? Was this position on climate change kindly expressed to an ADN reporter only or brought to the table in a mature discussion? I’m just wondering. Protesting like this does nothing. Also interesting that it is important that ADN print Sarah Siqiniq Maupin has “indigenous chin and forehead” tats (didn’t read it, just going by what you are saying, Steve). Is that supposed to make her more legit to comment on such things? And, I find it a bit sick for her to mention a couple that lost their lives on ice that was determined to be compromised because of the earthquake, in her discussion about climate change.

      • Garnet,
        I mentioned the couple who fell through the ice and just so you know there was another two riders who fell through thin ice on Big Lake as well, but were saved.
        (Irondog is moving to Willow this year for this EXACT same reason)
        This is mentioned for awareness as there is still a major section of open water on the Big Su and riders and mushers have to use an alternative route this year.
        As for the earthquake causing the thin ice, I find that hard to believe since the ice was thin before and after the quake.
        ADN reported:
        “Two teenagers fell through the ice while snowmachining at Big Lake over the weekend. Ken Barkley, fire deputy director for the Mat-Su Borough, said Monday there are certain coves around the lake where the ice is too thin to safely venture on.”

        • That’s quite the leap from “…ice that was determined to be compromised because of the earthquake” to “…the earthquake causing the thin ice”.

          Perhaps you might want to consult a dictionary before you post comments like yours?

      • I know Tom…
        Climate Change is a very scary phrase to Republicans…
        And just so you know your “elixir” offered above will not change the science behind our warming planet.
        Maybe you can address the concern and not attack the messenger?

  4. I’m embarrassed by this. Thanks a lot fellow Natives for devolving to antifa like tactics and behavior and implying the stereo-type that all Alaskan Natives are leftist extremists.

  5. According to the schedule I saw, there were supposed to be meetings in Arctic Village and Venetie immediately preceding this one. I would imagine that the mainstream media lacks the resources to send anyone there plus send security to protect them. Still, it’s strange that not one word has been mentioned in the media regarding what I would imagine to be the most hostile meetings of them all.

  6. this is pretty crazy, i wonder if you caught this on video susan downy it’d be a good moment of ingrained hate and racism to share and make public

  7. Where are the polls you refer to at the end of this article? (The polls showing 60-70% in favor of drilling). Good, factual reporting would reference them.

  8. Crazy me…when I saw the headline I thought they were protesting the newest abortion craze. Should’ve known better.

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