March 23rd, 2023

KIPI News March 10, 2023 – Part 2

Three Yup’ik mushers from Southwest Alaska are among some of the most experienced racers in this year’s Iditarod, the 1,000-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. Former Iditarod champ Pete Kaiser from Bethel, fresh off his 7th win of the Kuskokwim 300, is one of the racers to watch, as well as two mushers who have had successful past finishes – Ritchie Diehl of Aniak and Michael Williams, Jr. from Akiak. Williams has returned to the Iditarod after taking a break from the race. Bev Hoffman, a Yup’ik musher and longtime Kusko 300 organizer, has spent decades working to bring Alaska Native mushers back into the sport. In the early years, the Iditarod had a crowded field of Native mushers, but they were later eclipsed by a well-financed group of career mushers who could afford to train year-round.

A social media campaign is urging President Joe Biden to reject an oil development project on Alaska’s North Slope. The #StopWillow campaign, mostly on TikTok, has tallied more than 50 million views. Its popularity reflects the unease that young Americans feel about climate change and their concern that Biden will not keep his campaign pledge to curtail oil drilling. Many Alaska Native leaders with ties to the petroleum-rich North Slope support ConocoPhillips Alaska’s project and say they need the mitigation funds and jobs it would bring to remote villages. The Biden administration could announce its decision as early as this week.

Those are your headlines at this hour. I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.