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Holding Our Ground Part 14


Holding Our Ground

"Programs are presented as broadcast in 1985 and 1986. Some of the issues may have changed. A new series is looking at how these issues have changed over time. For more program information please contact the producer: Jim Sykes, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645. The address given at the end of the program is no longer correct."

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TapeAlaska Transcripts, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645
HOLDING OUR GROUND
(c) 1985 Western Media Concepts, Inc.
"OTHER SETTLEMENTS WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES"
(Part 14 of 16)

We have been seeing how similar the questions relating to land rights questions, to cultural rights, are around the world, how similar our problems are to the problems of Indigenous peoples in the colonial areas.

ALF ISAK KESKITALO IS A SAAMI, OR LAPLANDER FROM NORTHERN NORWAY. THE SAAMI, LIKE ESKIMOS, INDIANS, AND OTHER ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF THE WORLD ARE SEEKING A LAND BASE, ACCESS TO SUBSISTENCE RESOURCES, AND SOME FORM OF SELF-GOVERNMENT. ALASKA NATIVES MADE A HISTORIC LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT IN 1971, THEY ARE NOW LOOKING AT OTHER INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS FOR IDEAS TO IMPROVE THEIR OWN CLAIMS ACT. THIS IS HOLDING OUR GROUND.

FUNDING FOR "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, RURAL ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM, THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, AND ZIONTZ-PIRTLE LAW FIRM.

[Shorty O'Niel] We set up a tent embassy outside of Canberra and played a very major role in the elections of 1972 getting a labor government into power. Through many protests, many movements, in 1975 we were successful in setting up land councils in the Northern Territory.

IN 1971, WHEN CONGRESS PASSED ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, IT SPURRED OTHER INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO SEEK SETTLEMENTS WITH THEIR NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS. CHANGES HAVE BEEN MOST DRAMATIC IN AUSTRALIA.

IN 1788, THE BRITISH FORMED A COLONY IN AUSTRALIA. NO ATTEMPTS WERE MADE TO GET CONSENT FROM THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES, NO TREATIES WERE NEGOTIATED AND NOTHING WAS DONE TO PROTECT ABORIGINAL LANDS. ALMOST TWO CENTURIES LATER CHANGES STARTED TO TAKE PLACE.


SHORTY O'NIEL OF THE NATIONAL LAND COUNCIL, ALICE SPRINGS, NORTHERN TERRITORY.
In 1976, the Northern Territory Land Rights Bill was passed through federal parliament and immediately all of the desert lands and the swamp lands were handed back to aboriginal people. But the other lands in Northern Territory, something like 75 per cent of the state, is very rich pastoral industry and we've had major struggles to get any of that land back to the traditional owners. In Northern territory if you want to claim land, then the traditional owners must go to court and show their association with land. And for most of the traditional owners to do this, it's a very traumatic situation because they have to release information that is very sacred and very secret to them.

STANLEY SCRUTTON IS CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL LAND COUNCIL IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY WHERE SOME LANDS HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO NATIVE CONTROL.
The tribe itself, picks out six or seven elderly people and they form a land trust and they're the one who holds it for their people and the children of the future. And they're not allowed to sell it. They're not the bosses and don't tell the people what to do.

THE LAND TRUSTS ARE ALSO EXEMPT FROM TAXES. SINCE THE FIRST TERRITORIAL LAND RIGHTS BILL PASSED THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT IN 1976, OTHER SETTLEMENTS HAVE BEEN NEGOTIATED WITH THE TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENTS.

In 1980 the Pittjatjanarra Land Rights Bill went thru the South Australian parliament and it was quite different to the Northern Territory bill (SHORTY O'NIEL) mainly because the traditional owners there were still very much on their own land and they were able to force the South Australian government into a negotiation and not a land claims situation. And when the bill went thru one-tenth of South Australia, which is mainly desert lands, were handed over to those people.

ONE MAJOR STICKING POINT IS SELF-GOVERNMENT, A PROBLEM FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALL OVER THE WORLD.

[Shorty O'Niel] When we first opened up negotiations with the government we were told point blank that there was no way that the Australian government was going to look at sovereignty. We decided to continue with the talks, the federal government started to talk about a national land rights bill, and entered into talks with the National Federation of Land Councils and the National Aboriginal Conference.

ELSEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA, THE GOVERNMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES IS SETTING ASIDE 15 PER CENT OF LAND TAXES TO RUN A LAND COUNCIL. LEFTOVER MONIES CAN BE SAVED TO BUY BACK LAND THAT WILL BE TURNED INTO ABORIGINAL TITLE. ABORIGINAL LAND COUNCILS HAVE NOW BEEN FORMED IN MOST REGIONS OF AUSTRALIA AND A RECENT INQUIRY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA MAY BE A STARTING POINT FOR A LAND SETTLEMENT THERE.

[Alf Isak Keskitalo] We regard ourselves as one people, despite living in several different national states. We regard our land area as being our traditional ancestral land. We call it the Saame. That is the land that is now in traditional use for reindeer breeding, hunting, fishing and which we regard as the land base for our people today.

ALF ISAK KESKITALO LIVES IN THE LARGEST SAAMI COMMUNITY CALLED KAUTEKEINO, LOCATED IN NORWAY. THE 65 THOUSAND SAAMI RESIDE IN WHAT IS NOW NORTHERN NORWAY AND SWEDEN, WITH A FEW THOUSAND IN FINLAND AND THE SOVIET UNION. THEY BEGAN ORGANIZING IN 1907 TO PROTECT THEIR LANDS. A JOINT CONFERENCE OF SAAMI FROM SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES MEETS EVERY THREE YEARS. THEY ADOPTED A COMPREHENSIVE CULTURAL POLICY IN 1971 AND IN 1980 A JOINT SAAMI POLITICAL PROGRAM.

In Finland, there was a probational election in 1972, based on a census that the Nordic Saami council itself had arranged. Later, in 1973, there was passed a presidential bill in Finland recognizing and structuring the registration of the Saami population in Finland.

IN 1979 AND 1981, DEMONSTRATIONS AND HUNGER STRIKES BY SAAMI YOUTH IN OSLO HELPED MOVE THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT TO ACTION. TWO SPECIAL COMMITTEES WERE CREATED, ONE ON SAAMI STATUS AND LAND RIGHTS, THE OTHER ON LANGUAGE AND CULTURE.

[Alf Isak Keskitalo] The former government of Norway, expressly promised that it would recommend a constitutional amendment to get recognized the status of the Saami people as an ethnic Indigenous group in Norway, and to promote the erection of a Saami census and an elected body which could be raised on the fact of such a registration of the Saami population.

THE SAAMI HAVE ORGANIZED LOCALLY AS WELL AS BY REGIONS AND AS A NATION. THEIR MAJOR GOAL IS PROTECTION OF THE LAND AS A SECURE LAND BASE FOR TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC SYSTEMS. KESKITALO EMPHASIZED THE SAAMI'S NEED FOR SELF-DETERMINATION.

What we want, broadly, is to take the consequences of what democracy really is in the Nordic countries. And claim not only the individual rights, but the right of being a people with a certain self-determination. We are Saamis, we are not Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Russians, and so on. We want to have the right to elect our own political organs to represent us towards the government and to regulate matters among ourselves.

NATIVE PEOPLES OF CANADA, LIKE PEOPLES IN AUSTRALIA, ARE NEGOTIATING THEIR AGREEMENTS REGION BY REGION. THE INUIT AND CREE OF JAMES BAY AND NORTHERN QUEBEC WERE THE FIRST TO SETTLE AFTER ALASKA. THEY TOOK A HARD LOOK AT THE ALASKA SETTLEMENT AND DECIDED AGAINST SHAREHOLDER CORPORATIONS WITH LIMITED ENROLLMENT AS A WAY TO HOLD THE LAND.


MARK GORDON IS VICE-PRESIDENT OF MAKIVIK, ONE OF THE CORPORATIONS FORMED FROM THE AGREEMENT IN 1975.
We set up a membership corporation where if you are an Inuit and you are enrolled, and you become a beneficiary of the agreement, then your descendants automatically become beneficiaries or shareholders of this corporation, as well.

The land areas, we went for ownership, but protected ownership. And the lands are not held by the regional corporation. The lands are held at the community level by what we call the land-holding corporations. Each village has a land-holding corporation that has the rights to administer the lands and there's no corporate link, other than a moral one, between the land-holding corporation and our regional one.

THE PROTECTION OF SUBSISTENCE RIGHTS WAS DONE THROUGH LAND PROVISIONS SETTING UP EXCLUSIVE HUNTING AREAS AND A SPECIAL
MANAGEMENT BOARD.

[Mark Gordon] There's about 3,500 square miles in total for the whole region that have been set aside for exclusive hunting activities. That means only the Inuit can use these areas for hunting.

WHILE THE INUIT AND CREE HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT STRIDES IN MANAGING THEIR SUBSISTENCE RESOURCES, THEY HAVE JUST BEGUN TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF SOVEREIGNTY.

THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO STARTED TO DEAL WITH SOVEREIGNTY. IN 1982, "EXISTING ABORIGINAL AND TREATY RIGHTS" WERE MADE PART OF THE CANADIAN CONSTITUTION. IN 1983, INDIAN SELF-GOVERNMENT WAS PROPOSED AS A THIRD ORDER OF GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE CANADIAN SYSTEM. THE DETAILS ARE STILL BEING WORKED OUT.

IN CANADA'S NORTHWESTERN ARCTIC, COPE, THE COMMITTEE FOR ORIGINAL PEOPLES ENTITLEMENT FIRST MADE A LAND CLAIMS PROPOSAL IN 1977. AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE WAS INITIALED IN 1978. THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT FINALLY PASSED AN AGREEMENT IN AUGUST OF 1984. THE INUVIALUIT PEOPLE GOT FEE SIMPLE TITLE TO ABOUT 35 THOUSAND SQUARE MILES OF LAND, AND SPECIAL RIGHTS IN AN AREA FIVE TIMES THAT SIZE, LARGER THAN CALIFORNIA. OIL, GAS, AND SOME MINERALS STILL BELONG TO THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT IN MOST OF THE LANDS.


DWIGHT NOSEWORTHY NEGOTIATED THE SETTLEMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES.
One of the goals of the agreement is to provide the Inuvialuit with a strong and enduring economic base.

THE COPE SETTLEMENT FEATURES A COMPLEX STRUCTURE OF CORPORATIONS TO HANDLE LAND, DEVELOPMENT, AND INVESTMENT. THE LAND IS BASICALLY HELD IN TRUST BY THE INUVIALUIT THEMSELVES. THEY HAVE EXCLUSIVE HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN LANDS AND PREFERENTIAL SUBSISTENCE RIGHTS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE REGION. CANADA STILL CONTROLS WATER AND WATERWAYS FOR MANAGEMENT OF FISH, NAVIGATION AND FLOOD CONTROL, AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CAN ENTER INUVIALUIT LANDS FOR THESE PURPOSES.

[Dwight Noseworthy] The land ownership is subject to certain conditions. It can only be expropriated by order in council or by federal cabinet approval. There are provisions for things such as public roads right of way, acquiring sites for national parks, and the ownership also includes ownership of sand and gravel, which is a very important resource in the Western Arctic Region.

THE GENERAL LAWS OF THE NATION AND TERRITORY APPLY EXCEPT AS WRITTEN IN THE SETTLEMENT. THERE IS A COMPULSORY ARBITRATION PROCESS IF THERE ARE DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE INUVIALUIT AND THE GOVERNMENT. THE COPE SETTLEMENT LEFT THE BASIC SYSTEM OF TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT INTACT.

AFTER 13 YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT, THE COUNCIL OF YUKON INDIANS SIGNED AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE FOR A LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT IN 1984. TEN OF THEIR TWELVE INDIAN BANDS MUST APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT IN ORDER TO SEAL THE DEAL, BUT ONLY EIGHT HAVE AGREED. YUKON INDIANS WOULD RECEIVE 620 MILLION DOLLARS OVER A PERIOD OF TWENTY YEARS. THE MONEY WOULD BE HELD IN TRUST CORPORATIONS. THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT WOULD SECURE ABOUT FIVE PER CENT OF THE YUKON TERRITORY FOR THE INDIANS.

[Mike Smith] These lands would be held by the band corporation and only the improvements on the land would be taxed, raw land would not be subject to taxation. While the lands would be available for sale to anybody, the lands cannot be subject to seizure for nonpayment of taxes.

MIKE SMITH OF WHITEHORSE IS VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR LAND CLAIMS, COUNCIL OF YUKON INDIANS.
Our hunting agreement provides that we'll set up a management board and this will have total management of all game in the Yukon Territory and the Indian people who are Yukon beneficiaries would have one-half participation in that board.

YUKON INDIANS WOULD BE ENTITLED TO HALF OF THE ANNUAL HARVEST QUOTA FOR MOOSE AND WOODLAND CARIBOU. EXISTING TAKES OF FISH WOULD BE MAINTAINED.

[Mike Smith] ....for example, in the Tatshenshini, we catch something like 90 percent of the fish that come up that river. This quota would be protected forever for Native food fishery.

QUOTAS ALSO EXTEND TO TRAPPING.


[Mike Smith] 70 percent of the land mass in Yukon Territory would be reserved forever for Native trapping.

YUKON INDIANS SAY THEY NEED MORE THAN JUST GUARANTEED QUOTAS. THEY HAVE REJECTED PLANS WHERE NON-NATIVES WOULD HAVE CONTROL OVER THEIR LANDS. OWNERSHIP DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN CONTROL PARTICULARLY OVER SUBSISTENCE RESOURCES. NOW THAT NATIVE ABORIGINAL RIGHTS HAVE NOW BEEN INCLUDED IN THE NEW CANADIAN CONSTITUTION, PEOPLE ARE QUESTIONING THE NEED TO HAVE THEIR ABORIGINAL RIGHTS EXTINGUISHED, ALONG WITH THE VALIDITY OF THE ONE-GOVERNMENT APPROACH CONTAINED IN THEIR PROPOSAL. THE COUNCIL OF YUKON INDIANS WILL MAKE CHANGES, AND THEN RETURN TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE.


NUNAVUT IS A PROPOSAL FOR A NEW TERRITORY IN CANADA'S EASTERN ARCTIC. IT WOULD FEATURE PARLIAMENTARY STYLE GOVERNMENT AND THE ESKIMO INUKTITUT LANGUAGE AS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE.


NUNAVUT NEGOTIATOR RANDY AMES.
They wanted to put people on an equal footing with the outside world. And it wanted, I think, to give people freedom of choice in the future. We got the federal government to agree that the primary purpose is economic self-sufficiency. In order to meet that goal, Inuit have to be able to own lands for reasons of subsurface or mineral value, commercial or industrial value, of conservation value, of areas that were important to people for spiritual and cultural reasons.

THE LAND SELECTION PROCESS IS STILL IN NEGOTIATION, BUT THEY HAVE ESTABLISHED A GAME MANAGEMENT BOARD WHICH IS NOT ADVISORY, IT HAS AUTHORITY. IT IS MADE UP OF FOUR INUIT AND FOUR GOVERNMENT PEOPLE, FEDERAL AND TERRITORIAL. IT BROUGHT GAME MANAGERS TOGETHER IN A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT.

We managed to establish that people had the right to hunt, trap and fish over the whole Nunavut territory. We proposed that there be a harvest study that would identify basic level of need, basically what people were taking. And this was going to be a benchmark by which we would measure allocation and the future management decisions. This benchmark wasn't frozen in time. People could take more than that. They shouldn't drop below that unless conservation needs required it. If there's not enough wildlife to go around to meet all needs, peoples' food needs are met first.

INUIT HAVE THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO HUNT SPECIES SUCH AS POLAR BEAR, MUSK OX, WALRUS, AND WHALES BASED ON NEED.

[Randy Ames] We got people the rights of first refusal when it came to any sport or commercial operation dealing with wildlife. We also argued successfully that the definition of wildlife should include flora, the plant life.

DEVELOPMENT ON NUNAVUT LANDS IS SUBJECT TO AN APPLICATION PROCESS WHERE IT GOES TO AN IMPACT STUDY, IF THE DEVELOPMENT IS SEEN AS APPROPRIATE. NUNAVUT LEADERS PLAN TO NEGOTIATE CLAIMS TO OFFSHORE AREAS, INTERESTS IN SEABED RESOURCES AND ICE AREAS.
NUNAVUT IS PROPOSING A PUBLIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT WHICH WILL HAVE A VERY HIGH NATIVE MAJORITY OF 85-90 PER CENT IN THE EARLY YEARS. IF THEY GET A TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT, IT CAN BE CREATED BY AN ACT OF THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT WITHOUT CONCURRENCE OR INTERFERENCE FROM THE OTHER PROVINCES.


DENNIS PATTERSON.
We are looking for some model of allowing Elders to advise the government of Nunavut and we're also being pressed very strongly by the communities to give even stronger emphasis to the incorporation of customary law and traditional methods of dispute resolution to build those into the constitution of Nunavut. We have determined that it is necessary to entrench a bill of rights in order to protect the rights of minorities. We wish to ensure that individuals of all cultures and races are free to fulfill themselves in Nunavut. It may be that this bill of rights might eventually need to be used to protect the interests of a Native minority if that should ever occur in Nunavut.

NUNAVUT SEEMS CLOSER TO REALITY AFTER TEN YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT, BUT NO ONE IS PREDICTING WHEN AN AGREEMENT WILL BE REACHED.

THE DENEH AND METIS PEOPLES ARE JOINTLY TRYING TO SORT OUT BOUNDARIES WITH THE EASTERN INUIT, THE WESTERN INUIT, AND THE YUKON INDIANS. THE DENEH AND METIS HAVEN'T ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO AGREE AMONG THEMSELVES.


STEVE KAKFWI IS PRESIDENT OF THE DENEH NATION.
The general objective of the Aboriginal people together, in spite of their differences is they want the right of Aboriginal people to self-government to be recognized and entrenched in the constitution.

LIKE THE NUNAVUT PROPOSAL, A LONG RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT IS DESIRABLE. STEVE KAKFWI OUTLINES A GOVERNMENT UNDER CONSIDERATION.

We would call a senate made up of the Aboriginal people within Denendeh. There would be an elected government, operating much the same as any other place, that would operate on consensus, and that it would be seen in terms of an assembly of people, an assembly of community representatives that would meet and make decisions as a government for people.

STEVE KAKFWI SAYS PROVISIONS MUST BE MADE IN CASE THE DENE AND METIS BECOME A MINORITY IN THEIR OWN HOMELAND. THEY ARE WORKING ON WHAT TYPE OF GOVERNMENT THEY WANT, WHAT JURISDICTION IT WILL HAVE, AND HOW IT WILL MAKE DECISIONS. NEGOTIATIONS HAVEN'T BEEN EASY.

What the Federal government and the provincial governments insist on saying "We don't know what Aboriginal rights is," and so what we do is we place an empty box in the middle of the table and as we identify rights, we then throw those in the box, right to go hunting, right to trap, you have a right to a certain amount of land, but let's extinguish all the other rights first. The view of most of the Aboriginal people, in the country, is that they've got it all wrong, that in fact, all Aboriginal people still have a degree of sovereignty, that they have not given those up. And therefore when they come to the table, what they have is a box full of rights. It's not totally full because if it was we would be independent nations. So there is a little bit of your rights removed when you go to the table, but it is a full box and that is how you negotiate with the federal government. That is generally why it is, for us, difficult to buy the extinguishment policy because the empty box approach is taken. The bottom line of it all is that they have to give up their Aboriginal rights, whatever they are. And that is what we have the disagreement with, that we don't think it is actually possible for that to happen.

INTERNATIONAL LAW SUPPORTS THE EFFORTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO SEEK A LAND BASE AND SELF-GOVERNMENT. POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND PROCLAIMED IT IN YELLOWKNIFE, CANADA ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1984.

Today, I want to proclaim that freedom, which is required for a just and equitable measure of self-determination, in your own lives as Native people. In union with the whole church, I proclaim all your rights and their corresponding duties. Peoples have a right, in public life, to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Participation constitutes a right which is to be applied both in the economic and in the social and political fields. This is true for everyone. It has particular application for you as Native peoples, in your strivings to take your rightful place among the peoples of the earth, with a just and equitable degree of self-governing. For you a land base, with adequate resources, is also necessary for developing a viable economy for present and future generations.

THE MOVEMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SEEKING SELF-GOVERNMENT AND A LAND BASE IS WORLDWIDE.


DALEE SAMBO RUNS THE ANCHORAGE OFFICE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ESKIMO ORGANIZATION, INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE.
Whatever terms we use and whatever approaches we use within our own respective countries, we're all working towards the same end; a security of a land base, security of the resources, self-government, all of those things. And I think that the bottom line is that we're all moving and making basic efforts to be kept from being wiped off the face of the earth.

JOIN US FOR THE CONCLUDING PROGRAM IN THIS SERIES WHEN ALASKA NATIVES LOOK AT THE DREAMS, REALITIES, AND CHOICES FOR THE FUTURE. FOR HOLDING OUR GROUND THIS IS ADELINE RABOFF.

THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED AND WRITTEN BY JIM SYKES AND SUE BURRUS, EDITED BY SUE BURRUS, AND RESEARCHED BY FRANKIE BURRUS. SPECIAL THANKS TO THE COMMUNITY OF GAMBELL FOR SINGING, DANCING, AND DRUMMING. THANKS ALSO TO U-L-O RECORDS OF GREENLAND FOR MUSIC FROM THE 1980 CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE, AND TO THE MUSIC GROUP "KUCKLES" FOR THE SONG "BRAND NEW DAY"--RECORDED BY IMPARJA IN AUSTRALIA'S NORTHERN TERRITORIES. "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS A PRODUCTION OF WESTERN MEDIA CONCEPTS WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT.

FUNDING FOR "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, RURAL ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM, THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, AND ZIONTZ-PIRTLE LAW FIRM.

[Western Media Concepts no longer exists. Please Contact TapeAlaska, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645 for information about Holding Our Ground.]

 

 

 

PROGRAM SUMMARIES:

1. The People, the Land, and the Law
Comprehensive 30-minute survey of the burning issues facing Alaska's Native community in the second half of this decade. This tour over the vast landscape of Alaska Native affairs serves as an overview of the topics to be treated in depth during the other 14 segments.

2. The Land and Sea
The ages-old Native feeling about the land comes across the airwaves like a fresh breeze. Two starkly different realities are presented—the Native concept of oneness with the land and the Western notion of land ownership and development. How do these contrasting philosophies fit the Native in rural Alaska?

3. Subsistence—A Way of Life
Far from the political and legal controversies surrounding subsistence, Natives carry on their traditional subsistence lifestyles. Hear their very personal descriptions of subsistence, what it is, and what it means to them. An important aspect of this documentary will be to delve into the mix of subsistence and cash economies.

4. Sovereignty—What it Means to People
Self-determination is the heart of a rising grassroots political movement. The listener will learn that this quest by Native people to control their own futures reaches far into the past. And the listener will discover that American political theory is not as much at odds with the sovereignty movement as one might think.

5. Traditional Councils and Corporate Boardrooms
Who calls the shots in the Native community: A look at power, history, and decision making. The audience will consider change from the perspectives of traditional village rule to government and corporate bureaucracies.

6. The Land and the Corporations
Traditional Native lands became corporate assets because the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act created profit-making Native corporations to hold the land. This segment will look at one of the toughest questions facing the Native community today: "Do these Native corporations have an obligation to develop their lands to earn a profit for their shareholders, or do they have an obligation to preserve those lands for subsistence and for generations to come?"

7. Risking and Saving the Land
Land owned by Native corporations can be lost through sales, corporate takeover, bankruptcy, or taxation. This has generated so much concern among Natives trying to save their land that there are now a number of options to prevent loss of these lands. This program is an exploration of the major risks and what alternatives are available.

8 Subsistence and the Law
Carrying on the subsistence lifestyle without interference from the law is a thing of the past. Traditional ways of hunting fishing, and gathering are now subject to political and legal changes and challenges in what may well be Alaska's most bitter controversy. Hear discussion of the new role of Alaska Natives as treaty-makers and game managers.

9. Sovereignty - How it Works in Real Life
Local government control is a reality in some areas of Native Alaska. In other areas Natives are working to implement their own unique forms of self- government. Some have found self-determination in traditional government. Take a close look at the communities where sovereignty is becoming a reality.

10. The Newborns—Left Out of ANCSA
When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. passed on December 18, 1971, all those yet to be born were left out. Now thousands of teenagers and toddlers alike are on the outside of ANCSA looking in. The Native community is divided into ANCSA shareholders and newborns, and the problems could get worse. Natives young and old speak out in eloquent terms.

11. From Hunter, Fisher, Gatherer to Corporate Director
The corporation idea—how and why it was chosen as a vehicle for land claims. Was this a good way to give Alaska Natives a piece of the American dream, or was it a way of assimilating them? This program examines how Natives have made the transition from traditional life to corporate director or shareholder

12. Changing the Claims Act—The Key Players
Nearly every Native organization in the state is jumping on the "Let's do something about ANCSA" idea. What began as grassroots dissatisfaction with the act has now shifted into a well-organized movement. There is the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the United Tribes of Alaska, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and Association of Village Council Presidents, and others.

13. Recommendations of the Alaska Native Review Commission
An historic journey by Canadian Judge Thomas R. Berger has culminated in some provocative recommendations about the options open to Alaska's Natives. Listeners will hear a cross-section of views about what Berger reported and how this may affect changes in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

14. Other Settlements with Indigenous Peoples Settlement Act
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act inspired other indigenous peoples in the world to seek land claims in the settlements with their countries. This program will look at those efforts in Canada, Greenland, Australia, Norway, and elsewhere. Now some of the land claims proposals of others are being studied by Alaskans seeking to improve ANCSA.

15. The Dream versus the Reality
The final segment considers what people wanted all along in land claims and what they got. Should all the hard work of the past be scrapped? How has the dream changed? Voices of many people speak of the future, what they want and how they will go about getting it for themselves and their Children.

16. Special Program--Berger's Recommendations

 

 

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Last modified February 7, 2007