‘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.”
Aaron Tolen has tribal and ANCSA regional corporation affiliations across the state. He aims to balance a modern education with the values and traditions of his people, so he can continue to feel grounded in his culture and also experience success in a contemporary way.
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.
Fifty years ago, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act established regional and village corporations throughout the state. In the second of our three-part discussion of ANCSA, we’ll speak with corporate executives about the economic and cultural impact the corporations have on not just Alaska Native lives, but on all Alaskans.
Fifty years ago this December, Alaska Native leaders joined forces with national lawmakers to create legislation that ensured certain native land rights in our state. How has that legislation evolved over the decades? What does the next generation of Alaska Native leaders think of it?
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is 50 years old in December and the economic effect of the Native Corporations ripples across the state, representing an increasingly larger piece of the state’s economy and jobs.
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.