Sealaska Dividends Total Close to $12 million

Most Sealaska shareholders will get a $713 check or direct deposit in about two weeks.

This year’s winter distribution to stockholders totals $11.7 million. The Juneau-headquartered regional Native corporation has nearly 22,000 tribal members. Most live in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.

Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh says the twice-a-year distributions strengthen regional communities.

“Since inception, Sealaska has paid more than a half billion dollars total to shareholders and village corporations,” he says.

The majority of stockholders own 100 shares. Payments differ due to status.

Those also enrolled in an urban Native corporation, such as Juneau’s Goldbelt Inc., receive $713. So are those only enrolled in Sealaska.

Shareholders also enrolled in a village corporation, such as Prince of Wales Island’s Klawock Heenya, will get $71.

The difference is income from a pool of regional Native corporations’ natural-resource earnings.

Sealaska pays that directly to urban shareholders, as part of their dividends. But it pays the resource revenues to village corporations, which decide whether to pass them on to shareholders.

Descendents of original shareholders also only get $71 per 100 shares.

And elders in any category receive an extra $71.

Sealaska will mail or direct-deposit dividends beginning December 6th.

Some shareholders say the dividends are too small. They point to the fact that only about 10 percent of the payments come from Sealaska operations and investments.

“Let us not fight of the tiny piece of pie Sealaska chooses to distribute; let us work together to elect a board interested in growing the pie,” said critic Brad Fluetsch on a shareholders Facebook page.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.