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Legislation Would Extend Southeast Native Land Rights


April 01, 2011

(SitNews) Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young on Thursday introduced H.R. 1306 which allows Native residents of five unrecognized Southeast Alaska communities to organize five urban corporations, one for each unrecognized community.  The Southeast Alaska Villages of Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee and Wrangell have been denied fundamental rights and compensation afforded other Alaska Native villages under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

“A significant number of Alaska Natives reside in these communities but have been denied the opportunity to establish village or urban corporations,” said Rep. Young. “There is no reason given as to why this injustice occurred, and the time has come to right the wrong.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, I am proud to introduce this bill and provide a compromise and solution to those who have unjustly been denied rights to land and local resources that other village and urban corporations in Southeast Alaska received under ANCSA.”

In 1993, Congress directed the Secretary of Interior to examine why these five communities were unrecognized in ANCSA.  The Institute of Social and Economic Research (University of Alaska Anchorage) report found no distinction between the five communities and other Southeast Alaska communities, and thus no justification for omission of these five Southeast Native communities from ANCSA.  

Passed in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) extinguished Native land claims to almost all of Alaska in exchange for about one-ninth of the state's land plus $962.5 million in compensation.

By conveying Native land title to 12 regional and 200 local village corporations chartered under Alaska state law, ANCSA changed the relationship between Natives and the land from one of co-ownership of shared lands to one of corporate shareholding where land ownership was based on a corporate model, and governmental entities, including traditional or IRA "tribal" governments, were bypassed.

H.R. 1306 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on March 31, 2011.



On the Web:

Bill Summary & Status

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


Source of News:

Office of Congressman Don Young



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Ketchikan, Alaska