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Sealaska Land Entitlement Bill Reintroduced


April 08, 2011

(SitNews) - Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Don Young (R-AK) and Ranking Member Dan Boren (D-OK), on Wednesday introduced the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act.  This bipartisan legislation will allow the Sealaska Native Corporation to receive its remaining land conveyance under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.  Rep. Young first took the lead on this legislation in the 110th Congress.

This bill allows Sealaska to move away from sensitive watersheds, select a more balanced inventory of second growth and old growth, and select most of its remaining ANCSA lands on the existing road system, preserving as much as 40,000 acres of inventoried “roadless old growth.”  

“While Sealaska is one of the Regional Corporations with the largest number of Native shareholders, they received the smallest Regional Corporation land settlement, at less than one percent of the total of all ANCSA lands,” said Rep. Young.  “Now, four decades since ANCSA’s passage, Sealaska is still without their full land entitlement.  

“I have traveled to Southeast Alaska many times since I last introduced this legislation (and as recently as two weeks ago), getting input from local communities and incorporating new ideas to make my bill more comprehensive.”  

“It is an honor to join Chairman Young on this important legislation for the Native Regional Corporation for Southeast Alaska,” said Rep. Boren.   “A full 40 years after Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), Sealaska is still seeking to complete its remaining land entitlement in order to continue to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of its Native shareholders and the Native community throughout Alaska.  This legislation is an attempt to settle this issue fairly by accommodating concerns from all sides, while still providing Sealaska with the lands it has waited four decades to receive.”

“By permitting Sealaska to select its remaining entitlement lands from outside the original limited land pool, my bill would help Sealaska maintain jobs in rural and Native communities,” continued Rep. Young.  “It remains critical that Sealaska complete its remaining land entitlement under ANCSA to continue to meet the economic, social, and cultural needs of its Native shareholders, and of the Native community throughout Alaska.

“The legislation presents a solution that would allow Sealaska to complete the conveyance of its land entitlement and enable the Federal Government to complete its statutory obligation to the Natives of Southeast Alaska, as promised under ANCSA.”

The Sealaska bill has the support of the full Alaska delegation (Senator Murkowski and Senator Begich have introduced similar legislation), the State of Alaska, the National Congress of American Indians, the Intertribal Timber Council, the Alaska Federation of Natives, the ANCSA Regional Presidents & CEOs, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Alaska Forest Association, and numerous other communities, community organizations, and tribes throughout Southeast Alaska.

This legislation has not yet been assigned a number.  

Congress approved ANCSA nearly four decades ago to settle the aboriginal land claims of Alaska Natives. Under a complicated land conveyance formula, Sealaska was entitled to about 375,000 acres of the 16.9-million acre Tongass National Forest to help improve the livelihoods of their 20,000 shareholders. That promise has never been fulfilled.


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Office of Congressman Don Young


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska