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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The eco-focused Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded an $80,000 grant to an Alaska group working to protect waters in the southeastern part of the state from Canadian mining projects.

The grant awarded to the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission was announced last week, and it was among the more than $20 million the actor’s foundation has given in grants to more than 100 organizations around the world this year, the Juneau Empire reported (

Commission Chairman Frederick Otilius Olsen Jr. said the grant would help the group work to unify the indigenous voice in protecting the environment from industrialization occurring across the border from southeast Alaska. The commission is made up of 16 federally-recognized tribes, and it’s based out of Kasaan.

Although the state currently works with the British Columbia, Canada, through the Transboundary Working Group, the commission is looking to communicate directly with the country in order to reach a cooperative agreement. The commission is working to protect salmon habitat on shared waters from proposed mining projects. The commission was previously operated as the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group.

Olsen Jr. said they also plan to use the grant money to expand the commission’s operations and on travel expenses for conferences with other tribes, mining officials and conservationists.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire,