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Profile: Edward Itta at the Arctic Imperative Summit

At the close of the Arctic Imperative Summit, the announcement was made just yesterday that Arctic sea ice this summer has hit a record low. With the opening Arctic Ocean, much of the discussion the past few days has been centered around developing the Arctic sustainably. In his closing remarks to the summit, former North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta said the federal government must develop oil and gas while honoring native cultural values. He said it must be understood that there are two types of currency. One is cash, and one is the subsistence way of life.

Itta said he believes ANCSA, motivated by the Prudhoe Bay Oil Discovery and the construction of the oil pipeline, largely succeeded in giving Alaska Natives a fair trade. He said the same principles also need to be included in the next great wave of oil development.