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50th Anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

Dec 18, 2021

WHEREAS, the United States of America and the State of Alaska had a duty to resolve the land claims of the Alaska Native peoples, and the settlement of those claims was integral to the future of Alaska and the country. The discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay in 1968 created a sense of urgency in resolving the land claims of Alaska’s Native peoples; and

WHEREAS, many Alaska Native leaders, along with state leaders from local and state governments and Alaska’s congressional delegation, sought a solution to land claims that was both definitive and unique to the needs of Alaska and its peoples; and

WHEREAS, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) passed the United States Congress in a bipartisan majority, and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971 creating 12 private, for-profit Alaska Native regional corporations and over 200 private, for-profit Alaska Native village corporations to be held in Alaska Native ownership; and

WHEREAS, ANCSA transferred 44 million acres of lands from the federal government to regional and village corporations, resulting in the largest transfer of land from the federal government to private landowners in American history, making Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) the largest private landowners in Alaska; and

WHEREAS, the settlement from ANCSA facilitated the construction of the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline necessary to bring Alaska’s north slope oil to market; and

WHEREAS, ANCs are entrusted with advancing the social, economic, and cultural well-being of their shareholders They have responsibly developed their lands with projects such as the Red Dog zinc mine, Alpine oil field, Cook Inlet gas field, and Chugach and Tongass timber harvests; and

WHEREAS, ANCs have invested in and supported the long-term education and health of their communities through culture camps, scholarship programs, and language revitalization efforts. They have distributed over $4 billion in dividends to Alaska Native shareholders since inception; and

WHEREAS, ANCSA’s 7(i) and 7(j) provisions initiated revenue sharing among all Alaska Native regional and village corporations, sharing 70 percent of all resource development revenues. Over $3 billion has been shared to date between all ANCs; and

WHEREAS, ANCs have supported the broader Alaskan economy through employing tens of thousands of Alaskans, making up over half of the largest 49 Alaska-based companies. There remain significant opportunities for responsible utilization of the 44 million acres of ANCSA lands.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim December 18, 2021 as:

50th Anniversary of the

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

in Alaska, encourage all Alaskans to reflect on many positive economic and social benefits Alaska Native Corporations bring to the entire state of Alaska while looking forward to their continued success. 

Dated: December 18, 2021