Amber’s Picks – 11 March 2023

For me, Prey was a really big deal — and remains so! It’s my top movie of the 2020s so far, and that’s owed to a number of factors in tandem: the “slasher from space” premise fully realized for the first time since the ’80s, the surprisingly badass heroine, and the performance of the lead actress playing that heroine — Amber Midthunder.

It also felt like the start of a conversation — and not just the one about the future of the Predator franchise, though that is exciting. Prey coincided with a notable uptick in media centered on American Indian characters and stories. It’s a very long time coming, and hopefully popular shows like Reservation Dogs and Dark Winds have been reducing stereotypes in the viewers’ heads. Prey is also directly about colonization, taking place when it does and featuring a number of entitled aliens. So the question is: How do we not be like this guy?

If this feature recurs, and I hope it does, it’ll just be to “boost” (though maybe “echo” is the better word, receding into the darkness) what she’s already posted about on Instagram. And I’ll try to check back in on developments of earlier causes. For today, we have two items:

Stop Willow

You don’t hear much about the Biden administration, both a conscious change of pace given the previous administration, but also because, generally, they seem to be doing a pretty good job. Case in point: on August 16, 2022, Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is both “one of the most significant laws in our history” and something I never heard of until today. Apparently, the $750 billion bill was the largest climate investment in American history (which also lowered prescription drug prices and health care costs), which is why 100% of Republicans in Congress voted against it. Hey — they may not be for the American people, but they know how to agree on stuff.

Regardless, that legislative victory, which suggested the president would be upholding campaign promises (again, if you can remember them), is what makes the Willow Oil Project so disappointing. This is an $8 billion oil drilling project in the North Slope of Alaska — the largest proposed oil project in the country.

Of course, the war in Ukraine may have put a wrench in the best-laid plans. However, according to, “Any oil from Willow will do nothing to solve our current energy challenges because it won’t be available for years, but it will pad ConocoPhillips’ profits. The company is raking in record profits while families suffer, billions of dollars just so far in 2022 alone. Now is not the time for a massive giveaway to oil and gas executives.”

From the site:

Willow would emit more climate pollution annually than more than 99.7% of all single point sources in the country. It’s estimated that the oil from Willow, when burned, would add more than 280 million metric tons of climate pollution to the atmosphere over the next 30 years — equivalent to the annual emissions from 76 coal-fired power plants. Willow is a climate disaster we just can’t afford.

And from, “Alaska Native communities in and around the Western Arctic have long subsisted and thrived in the Arctic environment and continue to do so today. What’s more, there are dozens of villages that depend on the wildlife that spend their lives in the Western Arctic region and migrate hundreds of miles across Western Alaska. Alaska’s Arctic is not “untouched,” rather the Iñupiat people were the first great conservationists, living in harmony with the lands and animals. Humans have long called the Arctic their home and will continue to thrive here for generations to come.”

Salmon Beyond Borders

This one brings Canada into the mix, a country I feel less comfortable criticizing, but apparently, they’re looking to develop mines in the headwaters of the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk rivers, which would threaten clean water and industries of several thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.

According to, the campaign in response is “driven by sport and commercial fishermen, community leaders, tourism and recreation business owners and concerned citizens, in collaboration with Tribes and First Nations, united across the Alaska/British Columbia border to defend and sustain our transboundary rivers, jobs and way of life.”

The site emphasizes that the mining project is being done without “the consent of indigenous communities in B.C. and the U.S.,” including (I believe) the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and Eyak tribes in Southeast Alaska, and the Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, Nuxalk, Coast Salish and the Nuu-chah-nulth on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia.

The violence may be different, but the psychology behind it is the same. We have to shake that instinct toward “but we deserve” or even “we need” when it isn’t really ours.


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