June 19, 2007

"Shishmaref:  We Are Worth Saving!"

Shishmaref puts cry for help on Web

RELOCATION:  Village needs lots of money and expertise to move.Residents of Shishmaref, an Inupiat Eskimo village whose island home is being eaten away by the sea, are turning to the Internet for help in making a multi-million dollar move to the mainland of Northwestern Alaska.

"Shishmaref: We Are Worth Saving!" is the message on www.shishmarefrelocation.com, the newly established Web site of the Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition. "To not act represents the annihilation of our community by dissemination."

The 610 residents of Shishmaref are united in their wish to relocate from the barrier reef island--just a quarter of a mile wide and three miles long--to a new location on the mainland, five miles away.

To do so, they need about $180 million, and a lot of expertise, from planners and grant writers to engineers, geologists and cultural anthropologists, said Tony Weyiouanna Sr., a village transportation planner employed through Kawerak, a nonprofit regional firm that provides a variety of services to communities in the Nome region.

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