Naji Sabbaghi
Terminale 5
English Essay
Is Alaska a land apart in the USA?
"Pebble Mine," the name of one of the largest gold mining projects in the world, is also
one of the most controversial topics in the United States.Despite the huge potential for gold
mining and the approximately $650 million in investments, the project has not made any
headway.During Obama’s presidency, the project was stopped and revived during Trump’s
inauguration until September 12, 2021, when the new presidency of Joe Biden announced that
it was against it. We can therefore wonder why the subject is so controversial despite the
immense benefit that would result from exploitation, especially in this post-COVID-19 crisis
where the number of unemployed Americans is «10 million» , according to the US Department
of Labor. We will first examine how the current situation tends to have similarities with the
tragic events of the past, then we will explain why its similarities are even so an unfortunate
illusion and finally, we will emphasize the need to challenge Inuit mistrust of the American
government so that these people can flourish and not be killed by their own prejudices.
To understand this, we need to go back 126 years in the Americas.On a hot summer day,
August 16, 1896, in the heart of the Klondike, where no soul lives miles away. It was on that
day that two young men made the extraordinary discovery of gold deposits.They didn’t know
it yet but they were at the origin of one of the biggest gold rushes the world has ever seen.
100,000 people will then travel to Dawson City, Alaska, a long and perilous journey due to both
the harsh climate and very precarious situations in the cities described by writer John Muir
as"It’s like an ant’s nest being taken to an unknown land and angry with a stick. “On this trip,
only 5,000 miners would found gold, and only a sample of 100 will collect enough gold to
become rich. Despite this poor record, they still plundered a large part of Alaska and drove out
the native populations, giving this period the name "Saga of Warfare".These are the terms used
by the author William L.Iggiagruk Hensley in the book Fifty Miles From Tomorrow published
in the 21st century, evidence that the Inuit community is still healing from the phenomenon of
the Gold Rush, all the more so because the community still shares a current malaise about the
new wave of migration. Alaska is home to a number of resources, including gas oil, which has
fueled financial investment and, ultimately, a new wave of migration emerged, a sort of "Black
Gold Rush".
But it should be noted that this wave of migration is controlled and made up of qualified
people. People who will allow a better development of the state of Alaska with its engineers,
doctors, researchers despite the harsh conditions of Alaska. That is why Joe Biden’s presidency
recently signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act after it was passed in the House and
the Senate with strong bipartisan support. That is why this new generation of migrants is
different from the last, it does not come to plunder the resources of Alaska but on the contrary
to develop it. Unfortunately, Inuit tend not to notice this due to the traumatic events of the past,
as the wounds of the «Saga of Warfare » has not yet closed…
Naji Sabbaghi
Terminale 5
The American government, aware of the situation, preferred a policy of appeasement,
which could no longer afford the crimes of the past, especially since it would only stir up hatred
among peoples and consequently provoke a potential split within the state with an Inuit
independence movement that could be inspired by its Quebec neighbor , especially since the
government of USA is not able to support its presence on the territory of Alaska because it does
not share direct borders with the United States-United and even its membership is questionable
because Alaska was allowed following the sale of Russia to Washington without seeking the
opinion of indigenous peoples. This explains the autonomy that the United States gives to
Aboriginal people through the establishment of nature reserves under Inuit claims, which feel
reassured by this community spirit.
Nevertheless, this is probably not the right solution because, in the long run, Inuit culture
cannot be safeguarded. There will always be more migrants coming for resource development
(and not for diaspora), while there will be fewer and fewer Inuit who will disappear in the long
run, leading to the disappearance of their heritage. The solution really lies in translating Inuit
culture into new media to appeal to new populations and young people, which is what this video
game studio called CCTC does brilliantly. They allow the adoption and rehabilitation of Inuit
lores and custom it to the new century, as was done with the Harlem Renaissance, which made
it possible to popularize African-American culture worldwide.
In conclusion, Alaska is a land apart in the USA because the state enjoys a exotic
situation if compared to other US.states, first of all by its exotic nature «Last frontier» which is
represented in its flag, because of its geographic location closer to Canada than to other
American states, but also because of its culture, which generates a special relationship with the
American government.