Meghan Sullivan, Indian Country Today
When a string of Yup'ik elders from St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, all received the same cancer diagnoses, officials initially shrugged it off as a bizarre medical mystery. But not long after, a different village reported an increase in unusual cancer symptoms as well.
Video: Corporations formed under ANCSA are slowly opening up to new generations of shareholders, allowing younger Alaska Native people to have a voice in shaping the future.
‘Being good relatives’: New program aims to increase collaboration between Alaska Native tribes and corporations
There is a phrase that Iñupiaq elder Vernita Sitaktun Qutquq Herdman likes to say: “When Natives fight Natives, someone else is winning.”
At first glance, Metlakatla looks similar to many of the other villages in Southeast Alaska: glacier-cut coastlines, dense temperate rainforests, dramatic mountains in the backdrop. But locals know better — there is something distinctly different about the place.
It can be confusing to keep track of the various Native organizations and layers of tribal enrollment options within Alaska, so we put together a list of definitions that explain some of the basics.
As the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act approaches, the question still remains: What can be done to protect subsistence rights today?
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, in its simplest terms, provided Alaska Natives with $962.5 million and title to 44 million acres of land in exchange for the extinguishment of aboriginal land claims.
When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement passed it inadvertently created another system of Indigenous grouping and belonging, much like one sees in tribes. It also meant that those born after the date, like Boerner’s future children, would be left out of the act.
Throughout discussions on subsistence rights, education access, and other policy matters, blood quantum has consistently loomed in the background.
Depending on different factors, an Alaska Native could be an enrolled citizen of their tribe, village corporation, and regional corporation. They could be enrolled in their regional corporation, but not their tribe. They could be enrolled in different corporations or tribes than their siblings are.