Old Crow Church, 2018.
The Arctic Gas pipeline on the proposed Interior Route would pass between the village of Old Crow and Old Crow Flats. If this route were followed, a construction camp of 800 workers would be established near the village. The people of Old Crow do not look forward to that prospect, but, at the same time, they oppose a pipeline along the Coastal Route, because of the threat it represents to the calving grounds of the Porcupine herd on the coastal plain: they believe that the decline of the herd would undermine their way of life. Whichever route the gas pipeline takes, it may be followed by an oil pipeline, and by increased gas and oil exploration and development along the route. The people of Old Crow realize the implications of this.
The whole village told me they were opposed to the pipeline. I heard 81 people testify; virtually everyone, man and woman, young and old, spoke and they spoke with one voice. Here are the words of 21-year-old Louise Frost, who expressed the feelings of her people:
“I can see our country being destroyed and my people pushed on reservations, and the white men taking over as they please. … The pipeline is only the beginning of all this. If it ever does come through, there will be a time when other companies will want to join in on this. Any major development that has taken
place in the North has been of a rapid nature. Their only purpose in coming here is to extract the non-renewable resources, not to the benefit of northerners, but of … southern Canadians and Americans. To really bring the whole picture into focus, you can describe it as the rape of the northland to satisfy the greed and the needs of southern consumers, and when development of this nature happens, it only destroys; it does not leave any permanent jobs for people who make the North their home. The whole process does not leave very much for us to be proud of, and along with their equipment and technology, they also impose on the northern people their white culture and all its value systems, which leaves nothing to the people who have been living off the land for thousands of years. So to put it bluntly, the process of the white man is destroy- ing the Indian ways of life. “
Northern Frontier, Northern Pipeline: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry
Thomas R. Berger, 1977