Sealaska's Spin Fools No One
By Don Hernandez
May 08, 2013
Additionally, according to the Wrangell Sentinel, Ms, Aruajo told a group of Wrangell residents in 2010 that if this legislation passes it could serve as precedent in the future. "A lot of land issues in Alaska have lost some traction, and we're hoping with our bill to lay the foundation to get some things done on Alaska native land issues," Araujo said.
As proof the legislation would not be precedent setting, Sealaska and Senator Murkowski continually rely on the informal assurance of heads of other Alaska native corporations claiming they would not seek similar action if the legislation prevailed. These hearsay assurances are not binding now or in the future.
It would be highly irresponsible for Congress to reopen ANSCA, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. It's intent was to resolve and extinguish in perpetuity aboriginal land claims in Alaska not provide loopholes for continual major revisions. Moreover, it would be naïve to assume any other Native Corporation could not do the same were S.340 enacted.
Sealaska currently claims they had a unique situation compared to the other regional corporations because they were forced to choose lands from within designated areas. However, in 1975, then Sealaska President John Borbridge testified before a Senate Committee expressly supporting and specifically requesting completion of their land selections inside the designated withdrawal areas. Quite simply, in 1975 Sealaska was perfectly satisfied with the lands within the box.
Finally, BLM testimony recently submitted before a Senate committee hearing affirmed the bill's precedence setting nature: "We note that if S.340 is enacted other corporations might seek similar legislation for the substitution of new lands."
Who does Sealaska think they are fooling?
About: "Don Hernandez is a commercial fisherman and resident of Point Baker, Alaska"
Received May 07, 2013 - Published May 08, 2013
Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:
Representations of fact and opinions in letters are solely those of the author.
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.