Faith Gemmill will speak about energy extraction in Alaska

Faith is also a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and vice president of the California Indian Environmental Alliance, according to the university’s Metanoia website. (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands Faith Eve Gemmill-Fredson will bring first-hand accounts on environmental issues from across the country as a keynote speaker during the University of Connecticut Environmental Metanoia on April 18, said journalism professor Scott Wallace.

The presentation titled “Extreme Energy Extraction in Alaska: A Climate of Chaos” will take place on April 18, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Biology Physics Building and a reception with food will follow, said faculty co-chair Professor David Wagner.

“When I met with some of the other folks who were organizing the Metanoia, I was asked if I had any suggestions for a good speaker,” Wallace said. “I remembered from [my] interview with her way back when, she seemed to me someone who could be a really great guest for us.”

Wallace said he first met Gemmill when he took a CNN crew to the Alaskan Arctic Gwich’in Indian Settlement to do a story on the controversy over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Gwich’in, you could say, are kind of like militant traditionalists who have taken a very strident position on oil development in northern Alaska, principally because they are a caribou hunting culture,” Wallace said. “And their calving grounds are on the north slope of the arctic ocean coast precisely where proponents of expanding oil production in Alaska want to drill.

Wallace spent four days in the village and interviewed citizens across town, one of them being Gemmill.

“Faith was a very fiery, articulate, passionate, intelligent woman who was very clear about her people’s opposition to oil development,” Wallace said.

Gemmill is the founder and executive directors of the grassroots network Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), which aims to spread information on climate change, fossil fuel and mining, according to the university’s Metanoia website.

Faith is also a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and vice president of the California Indian Environmental Alliance, according to the university’s Metanoia website.

“It would be perfect for this occasion to have an indigenous spokesperson who has been dedicating her life to defending the environment,” Wallace said.


Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lillian.whittaker@uconn.edu.