A message from the Executive Director:
As October marks the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Federation of Natives’ annual gathering, it’s a good opportunity to reflect upon the immense benefit and future potential the Alaska Native Corporations bring to our economy.
As many of you know, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), was enacted by Congress on December 18, 1971, ensuring Alaska Natives were able to manage, develop and sustain their lands to benefit their people. Each year, we publish lengthy information about the Act and Alaska Native Corporation land ownership in our Handbook and Service Directory. A section worthy of repeating:
ANCSA entitled Alaska Natives to receive 43.7 million acres of land and monies totaling $962.5 million in compensation for the extinguishment of any claims to additional lands based on aboriginal title. ANCSA divided Alaska into twelve regional areas, each of which is represented by a regional Native business corporation (see map on front cover). A thirteenth regional corporation was established for those Alaska Natives residing outside Alaska. Each regional area has a number of village corporations which were also established by ANCSA. Each eligible Alaska Native can be a shareholder in both a regional and village corporation, as well as a tribal member. Each regional and village corporation has its own board of directors who are elected by the registered shareholders.
After deducting land entitlements for special purposes and revoked reserves, 38 million acres were allocated to the village corporations and the regional corporations. Twelve regional and 220 village corporations received 22 million acres based on population and six regional corporations received an additional 16 million acres based on the size of the aboriginal claim area.
Many of the Native land selections under ANCSA, particularly those by regional corporations, are based on mineral potential. Native lands include some areas with high potential such as in the Ambler district (copper & zinc) and the Seward Peninsula tin belt.
Several of the regional corporations selected lands with high mineral potential which were located within areas closed to mineral development and theoretically, not available for Native selection. Subsequently, they were able to negotiate a land exchange with the Federal government and develop the mineral resources. A prime example is the Red Dog Mine – a lead-zinc deposit which was originally on land closed to mineral entry. NANA obtained the deposit through a trade with the Federal government and optioned the property to Cominco for development.
Today, development on ANCSA lands and the potential that comes from projects and businesses in the Corporations’ portfolios is a bright spot in Alaska’s economy. In this issue, we asked some of the Corporations to provide information about their mineral activities and potential. I hope you enjoy reading their submittals and learning about Alaska Native Corporation business statewide.
I’d like to thank Jason Brune, AMA Past President and Senior Director, Lands and Resources at CIRI for helping us to compile this issue. Jason is also organizing a Technical Session at our Convention on Wednesday, November 9, in which some Corporations will present their activities in further details. Thanks, Jason!
Deantha Crockett, Alaska Miners Association Executive Director