The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service going after artists and their artwork from an outside viewpoint could almost be considered a form of cultural genocide. Languages are dying, and now artists are being pursued and threatened by the Service with jail time and heavy-handed fines.
I grew up in a family of artists, where art was a part of my everyday life. Alaska Natives have always depended on the land and the animals around us for support. It is a symbiotic relationship that must perpetuate our culture from now into the distant future. This could be an issue that the larger Native corporations and organizations could tackle, to help preserve our culture from the feds.
Mr. Cavanaugh, I’m sure, wasn’t harming anyone around him, and has and does make beautiful artwork, and should be entitled to pursue his religious and spiritual right to make artwork as he sees fit. Most of the abuse has come from those peoples that have come to occupy Alaska from the Outside.
— Dennis Blackburn