The Tlingit people have called the vibrant coastline of Southeast Alaska home for over 10,000 years and continue to practice a way of life intimately tied to the ocean and the largest remaining temperate rainforest on earth. Now contamination from industrial mining is threatening the safety of the wild food sources that make Alaska so unique. Xootsnoowú (Fortress of the Bears in Tlingit) is protected as Admiralty Island National Monument, and home to the Alaska Native village of Angoon. Greens Creek Mine, one of the largest silver producers in the world, is located thirty miles north of the village, and as the sole mine in the nation operating within a national monument, is required to comply with the law that no irreparable harm can befall the monument and its values.
Conservationists and Alaska Native communities have conducted independent research to assess whether Green’s Creek is contaminating the local ecosystem. Alarming results reveal that since the mine went into production, toxin levels have increased dramatically and are above safe levels in some important food sources, and are above safe levels for human consumption. Irreparable Harm gives powerful voices to the Alaska Native communities and conservation groups demanding that Greens Creek Mine and State and Federal agencies develop new monitoring and treatment of waste and mitigate past damages before it’s too late. Now is the time to stand up and protect the cultural and ecological values that make Admiralty Island an irreplaceable treasure.