Tags: shishmaref | votes | move | alaska | inuit | global warming

Shishmaref‬ Votes to Move to Alaskan Mainland as Ocean Waters Rise

Image: Shishmaref‬ Votes to Move to Alaskan Mainland as Ocean Waters Rise

In this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo, Nathan Weyiouanna's abandoned house at the west end of Shishmaref, Alaska, sits on the beach after sliding off during a fall storm in 2005. (AP Photo/Diana Haecker, File)

By    |   Friday, 19 Aug 2016 12:31 PM

The Alaskan villagers of Shishmaref‬ voted to move to the Alaska mainland to escape rising sea levels brought about by global warming.

94 of the isolated village's residents voted to move while 78 voted to stay, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

The village is home to about 600 people located on an island in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait. Some houses have fallen into the sea while others have been moved to more stable ground in recent years.

Sally Russell Cox, a state planner, told the Alaska Dispatch News that the vote is significant in determining whether the village will get public support for their move.

"It is the community's expression of what they want to do," Cox said. "If they want to start moving forward with agency support on relocation, the vote is really what triggers that support."

But funding could be hard to come by.

"We don't see the move happening in our lifetime because of the funding," Shishmaref Council secretary Donna Barr told CNN, noting that 15 years ago the cost of moving the village was estimated at $180 million.

Shishmaref is among more than 30 Alaskan villages facing similar threats, CNN said.

"The land is going away," resident Shelton Kokeok told CNN in 2009. "I think it's going to vanish one of these days."

Esau Sinnok, an Arctic Youth ambassador from Shishmaref, said a collective move is favorable because the village's unique culture is at risk, NPR reported.

"Shishmaref will be underwater within the next three decades, and if we do not do anything, we'll be forced to move to another city like Nome or Kotzebue or Fairbanks or Anchorage, and not many people will move to the same place," he said. "So that means our unique community of Shishmaref will soon die out because we have our unique dialect of Inupiat Eskimo language, our unique Eskimo dancing, our unique gospel singing translated in Inupiat. All that will soon die out if we do not move as a community."

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The Alaskan villagers of Shishmaref‬ voted to move to the Alaska mainland to escape rising sea levels brought about by global warming.
shishmaref, votes, move, alaska, inuit, global warming
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2016-31-19
Friday, 19 Aug 2016 12:31 PM
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