Tuluksak Opposes Donlin Mine

The proposed Donlin Gold mine would be one of the biggest in the world if developed.
Credit Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

Another tribe in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has come out against the proposed Donlin Gold mine. The Tuluksak Native Village Council passed a resolution on July 5 opposing the mine, which would be one of the biggest in the world if developed.

Middy Peter, the Village Council President, says that the tribe passed the resolution because of the numbers of cancer deaths in the village. He says that the health risks are too high to support Donlin.

“We passed the resolution due to our elders having cancers, and now we’re founding out more on these elders having dementia in our villages,” Peter said.

The lower Kuskokwim River village is located about 120 miles downriver from the proposed mine site. Peter also said that the mine would disrupt subsistence, which the majority of Y-K Delta residents practice.

“It would most significantly dwindle our fish habitat,” Peter said.

The resolution passed unanimously, and Village Council Vice President Waska Fly read it during the contentious annual meeting of the Calista Regional Native Corporation last week in Bethel. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Center also passed a resolution against the Donlin mine two years ago. They cited potential health risks and raised concerns about people leaving or refusing to come to the region because of fears over potential contamination.

Tuluksak is the first tribe in the region to formally come out against Donlin since the Bethel ONC tribe marched against the mine in June.