Off a dirt road between Iliamna and Nondalton, about 30 children are attending Camp Juvenaly.
When they aren’t swimming or fishing or building or eating, they sit in school desks along the gravel banks of a tundra lake rimmed by wispy paper birch trees. Russian Orthodox Priest David Askoak teaches them spiritual and cultural issues, and others in the community join in.
“Safety is all about being ready,” an Alaska State Trooper tells the restless group. He first holds up a flotation device, and then a helmet to illustrate his point. “Do you know why you are luckier than lots of other kids your age in this state?”
No one answers.
An Iliamna Native group closest to the proposed Pebble Mine site is standing against a lawsuit filed in Anchorage Superior Court last week that seeks to stop the development.
According to a lawsuit brought by Nunamta Aulukesta and other Bristol Bay residents, the state’s Department of Natural Resources violated the Alaska Constitution by granting permits allowing exploration. The groups accuse the department of issuing permits while failing to consider whether the mine is in the public’s interest.