Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Tony Vaska, an Eskimo from Bethel, Alaska, is currently writing his doctorate in anthropology at Stanford University. Nonetheless, Tuesday night following the premiere of the movie "Alaska - The American Child,"sponsored by Americans for Alaska, Vaska said he thought his views typical of his people on conserving Alaska's wilderness.
"I am here in Washington to support the continuation of the subsistenc in Alaska," said Alaska. "It is very important to use (he was one of a delegation of 20 from that state) to impress on the public the importance of passing bill H-39 as it is."
Vaska's sentiments were hardly unique in the crowd of 300-plus gathered for the reception in the Marvin Conter of George Washington University following the film.
In fact, to hear Rep. Morris Udall (D-Ariz.) tell it, bill H-39, which would classify 95 million acres of federally owned lands in Alaska as parks, pre-services and wildlife refuges "is the most important land-use decision since Teddy Roosevelt created the national forests."
The film itself, produced and financed for the most part by singer John Denver with a little help from ABC, was generally well-received. "The visuals were great and the singing is great," said one conservationist, "but when Denver got off the plane, looked at Alaska and said, 'Oh wow' . . . well, like I said, the music was great."
Wine and cheese were served along with fresh hunks of salmon donated, the sign said, by Alaska Angoon people. In the center of the room an abstract display depicting Alaska flanked a band, while off to one side was a continuous slide presentation, largely the property of Rep. John F. Seiberling (D-Ohio).
Sieberling, whose interest in Alaska dates back to a trip he took there three years ago, said he felt H-39 will pass "if it gets to the floor. But right now we're not sure we'll get it through the Rules Committee."