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Holding Our Ground Part 4


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.
"SOVEREIGNTY--WHAT IT MEANS TO PEOPLE"
(Part 4 of 16)

[Willie Kasayulie] We have a territory, we have a language, and we are a group of people; that word is nation. We are a Nation.

[Jack Lomac] We want to have a government to government relationship with the state and federal government that we are sovereign people. And we're going to be sovereign as long as we live.

"SOVEREIGNTY" IS THE WORD USED TO DESCRIBE THE RISING TIDE OF ALASKA NATIVE SELF-DETERMINATION. NATIVE PEOPLES ARE REACHING FAR INTO THE PAST FOR ANSWERS TO CONTROL THEIR OWN FUTURE. IN THIS PROGRAM, WE LOOK AT SELF-DETEMINATION, AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ALASKA NATIVES. 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.

Our government has existed since time immemorial. There has been a crying need to re-establish the tribal government. The government that now exists, the federal government and the state government is not our way of government. The Elders are saying "re-establish your tribal governments. Make your own laws, practice your self determination as your ancestors have practiced it."

WILLIE KASAYULIE IS ONE OF THE LEADERS IN THE NATIVE SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT. HE AND OTHER PEOPLE IN HIS VILLAGE OF AKIACHAK ARE DISSOLVING THEIR STATE-CHARTERED CITY GOVERNMENT AND HANDING THE RESPONSIBILITIES OVER TO THE NATIVE GOVERNMENT. IT IS A MOVE PEOPLE IN OTHER VILLAGES WANT TO MAKE. THE SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT IS NOT NEW, IT IS BASED ON THE LAW OF PERPETUAL OCCUPANCY, AND DATES BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

MIKE ALBERT FROM THE WEST COAST VILLAGE TUNUNAK.
People living in New York or any other city came into that city from a different part of the world. And when they get to that city, they combine their cultures and that's how they make their own constitutions. But the Native people in Alaska, who knows when, thousands of years and today we are still living on the same country, same area. This is where we have our real sovereign power.

EARLIER IN THIS CENTURY, NO ONE QUESTIONED THE RIGHT OF NATIVE PEOPLES TO RULE THEMSELVES AND USE THE LAND FREELY. NOW PEOPLE ARE FEELING THE LOSS OF THESE FREEDOMS. THE RECENT EVENTS OF ALASKA STATEHOOD AND THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT HAVE BROUGHT NEW LAWS, GOVERNMENTS, AND ORGANIZATIONS. THE EFFECT HAS WEAKENED THE POSITION OF MANY NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. WHEN NATIVES SPEAK OF SOVEREIGNTY, OR SELF-DETERMINATION, THEY SPEAK OF CARRYING ON THEIR CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS, SUBSISTENCE ACTIVITIES AND KEEPING THE LAND.

JUDGE THOMAS BERGER.
I think that people in the bush want a greater measure of control over their lives, their communities and their land. And they've decided that the best way to achieve that goal is by asserting Native sovereignty. Now that doesn't mean they want to set up little nation states throughout Alaska and send delegates to the United Nations. What it means is that the Alaska Natives who live in these villages want to assert their right as distinct political communities, going back hundreds of years to govern themselves. We're talking about something as American as apple pie.

THE LATEST SURGE NATIVE SELF-DETERMINATION STEMS FROM THE REALIZATION THAT NATIVE LANDS COULD BE LOST, ALONG WITH MANY SUBSISTENCE ACTIVITIES.


ALASKA'S NATIVES HAVE BEEN FORCED TO THINK OF THEIR TRADITIONAL LAND AS COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE. PREVIOUSLY IT COULD NOT BE BOUGHT OR SOLD. LAND WAS CONSIDERED SOMETHING TO USE NOT TO OWN...

CLAUDE DEMIENTIEFF
Used to be the land belonged to everybody. Nobody owned the land. We were just guests on this land.

THE RIGHTS TO USE THE LAND WERE HANDED DOWN THRU GENERATIONS.
ALASKA NATIVES HAD THEIR OWN TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES LEARNED FROM CHILDHOOD.

SHELDON KATCHATAG OF UNALALKLEET.
I learned about them as a very young child. Traditionally we don't fish on that side of that line, imaginary line. You know, the inquisitive mind when you're that young who made that boundaries? Oh, it's always, I don't know who did it. Does Grampa know? No, Grampa don't know who did it. But it's there. And it's a statement of fact. And you accept it as such. And you grow up with it, and you abide by it.

THE FIRST EUROPEAN EXPLORERS THAT CAME TO ALASKA WERE RUSSIANS. THEY SET UP A HANDFUL OF FORTS AND TRADING POSTS, BEGINNING IN THE LATE 1700'S, MUCH AS THE HUDSON BAY COMPANY DID IN CANADA.

RUDOLF WILLIAMS OF EMMONAK.
And when the Russians came (TRANSLATED BY AXEL JOHNSON) they found Alaska, they came to our land, and they found our people, the Eskimo people. And they claimed this land that belonged to our forefathers from time immemorial. And how they claimed it is something they did not understand and still do not understand.

IN 1867, RUSSIA SOLD ALASKA TO THE UNITED STATES FOR 7.2 MILLION DOLLARS.
After the Russians had come and claimed this land without a fight or anything, without asking the people if they could sell it or not, they just went ahead and sold this land that belonged to our forefathers, the Eskimo people, to what they call the United States.

BUT WHAT DID THE UNITED STATES BUY? THE MOSCOW DAILY NARODNII GOLOS ASKED THE SAME QUESTION EDITORIALLY ON APRIL THE FIFTH, 1867.
For what El Dorado does the United States pay us seven million dollars? For the metropolis of Sitka, consisting of several barbaric country houses and the residence of the colonial governor, and also for several half century old windjammers and steamships.

EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT THE RUSSIANS THOUGHT THEY WERE SELLING ONLY THEIR FORTS AND A FEW STEAMSHIPS. ON THE OTHER HAND, U.S. CONGRESSMEN NEVER HAD ANY DOUBTs ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE BUYING WHEN THEY APPROVED THE ALASKA PURCHASE--THE ENTIRE LAND OF ALASKA. A MILITARY DISPATCH LISTED STRATEGIC HARBORS BETWEEN THE U.S. MAINLAND AND THE ORIENT. CONGRESS WAS AWARE OF THE MINERALS, FISH, AND FUR IN ALASKA. ONE REPORT SUGGESTED, ENOUGH GOLD COULD BE MINED OUT OF ALASKA IN ONE YEAR TO EQUAL THE PURCHASE PRICE.

SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER OF MASSACHUSETTS WAS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING THE ALASKA PURCHASE THROUGH CONGRESS, BUT HE EXPRESSED SERIOUS RESERVATIONS THAT THE TRANSACTION TOOK PLACE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT OF ALASKA'S NATIVE PEOPLES.

ALASKA NATIVES STILL TALK ABOUT THE SALE OF ALASKA AS IF IT WERE YESTERDAY, AND SOMETHING CAN BE DONE TO CHANGE IT.

JOHN HOWARD SENIOR FROM ANGOON.
From any meetings I've heard that the Russians sold Alaska to the United States. The fact is I question who did the Russians buy it from that they can sell Alaska over the counter like a toy. I never did get a reply of that.

I am against (WILLIE KASAYULIE) the sale of Alaska from Russia to the United States because they did not own it. They had not the right to sell the land. We have legitimate claim and title to the land that we are talking about. Every village had a certain jurisdiction, it was mainly based on occupancy and use. These things have significance.

IN 1934 CONGRESS PASSED THE I-R-A, OR INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT-DESIGNED TO STREAMLINE THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR'S DEALINGS WITH NATIVE PEOPLES. IN THE LATE 30'S AND EARLY 40'S OVER 40 ALASKA NATIVE COMMUNITIES ADOPTED CONSTITUTIONS UNDER THE I-R-A. THOSE CONSTITUTIONS FORMALIZED TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS.

MIKE ALBERT....
Thousands of years back, from time no one knows although Native people had no written laws they had their own laws and their own government. Some years back before Alaska became a state we had our own form of government which is I-R-A.

AS VILLAGES FORMALIZED TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS, ALASKA'S STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE DURING WORLD WAR II BROUGHT THOUSANDS OF TROOPS. IN 1959 ALASKA GAINED STATEHOOD.

PROFESSOR RUSSEL BARSCH SUGGESTS THAT EVENT WAS ILLEGAL UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW.
The United States went to the United Nations and asked for United Nations permission to make Alaska a state. Why do suppose they did that? The reason is because the United States was seriously concerned that the United Nations might classify Alaska as an overseas colony, a non-white colony. If one territory that the United States held, that was clearly geographically separate as well as ethnically distinct and in which the Native population was subjected to external control. The so called decolonization resolution, which is the basis of United Nations law on colony, defines colony as a territory which is geographically separate and ethnically distinct.

ROUGHLY TEN YEARS AFTER STATEHOOD THE TRANS-ALASKA OIL PIPELINE WAS PURPOSED. NATIVE LAND CLAIMS HAD TO BE SETTLED SINCE IT CROSSED NATIVE LANDS. IN 1971 CONGRESS PASSED ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT.

The land claims act was passed because the oil companies wanted it. (CLAUDE DEMENTIEFF) They wanted a corridor for the pipeline. They wanted the issue of the land settled so that they could make their oil on the north slope available to money markets in the south.

GOVERNOR EGAN AND HIS TOP ADMINISTRATORS WERE ANXIOUS TO SELECT LANDS GRANTED UNDER STATEHOOD. ALASKA NATIVES WANTED RECOGNITION FOR THEIR ABORIGINAL LANDS. DON WRIGHT WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES ASSOCIATION, THE GROUP THAT WORKED WITH CONGRESS ON A CLAIMS ACT. HE WROTE TO PRESIDENT NIXON EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE THE LAW PASSED.

Because of our use and occupancies of the land in Alaska for literally thousands of years, the Alaska Natives have valid Indian title to roughly 375 million acres of land in Alaska. This title has never been extinguished by the United States since it negotiated with Russia and signed the Treaty of Cession in 1867.

IN 1971, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT EXTINGUISHED ALL ABORIGINAL LAND TITLE. THE ACT REMAINED SILENT ABOUT NATIVE GOVERNMENTS.

We characterized the Alaska sovereign people on an equal basing with those in all of Europe, wherein there are dozens of sovereign nations.

SOME LEGAL EXPERTS SAY THAT CONGRESS HAS THE POWER TO DO ANYTHING IT WANTS--INCLUDING EXTINGUISHING ABORIGINAL RIGHTS.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND PROFESSOR HENRY SHUE DISAGREES.
The sort of language that you find in ANCSA says things like all aboriginal titles are hereby extinguished. Well, I don't know, if they're based on genuine human rights, they're not the sort of thing that governments can extinguish. I mean the whole point about human rights is that they are prior to the decisions of governments and this is as American an idea as you can get. I mean that was the whole point about the American Revolution.

WHEN ALASKA NATIVES GAVE UP 90 PER CENT OF ALASKA, CONGRESS ASSIGNED THE REMAINING 10 PERCENT TO PROFIT-MAKING NATIVE CORPORATIONS, ALONG WITH ABOUT 963 MILLION DOLLARS.

THE LANDS BECAME PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE NEWLY CREATED CORPORATIONS, NOT NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. THE LARGEST ASSETS OF MOST CORPORATIONS ARE LANDS. THE LANDS ARE MOSTLY REMOTE AND USED MAINLY FOR SUBSISTENCE.

SHELDON KATCHATAG BELIEVES THE POWER OF NATIVE GOVERNMENTS REMAINS IN PLACE EVEN THOUGH THE LANDS ARE NOT OWNED BY THE NATIVE GOVERNMENTS.
Section F. No provision of this act shall be construed to constitute a jurisdictional act. Therefore, we as tribal governments, have no limitation to our jurisdiction. There is nothing in the state, there is nothing in the federal government that says there is a limitation. The only limitation that we as tribal governments have is those that we have imposed on ourselves and these are the ones that we have abided by since time immemorial, our traditional tribal boundaries.

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS, THE I-R-A FORMALIZED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, AND THE TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS, WHICH ARE LESS FORMALIZED BUT HAVE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME RIGHTS. LIKE OTHER GOVERNMENTS THEY DO NOT LOSE THEIR LANDS IF THEY ARE BROKE. THEY CAN ALSO PASS LAWS AND ESTABLISH A COURT SYSTEM.

NATIVE GOVERNMENTS EXERCISE THEIR POWER BECAUSE THEY ARE A CONTINUING POLITICAL GROUP. ONE BECOMES A LIFELONG MEMBER AT BIRTH. CORPORATIONS HAVE SHAREHOLDERS, BUT THEY INCLUDE ONLY THOSE ALASKA NATIVES BORN BEFORE THE ACT PASSED. THOSE BORN AFTER 1971 WOULD NOT RECEIVE SHARES EXCEPT THROUGH INHERITANCE. IF THE LANDS ARE LOST THE RIGHTS TO SUBSISTENCE HUNTING AND FISHING MAY ALSO DISAPPEAR. THE LAND AND SUBSISTENCE WAY OF LIFE ARE BASICS THAT NATIVE PEOPLES ARE UNWILLING TO RISK.

CHARLIE KAIRAIUAK IS THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED TRIBES OF ALASKA, A STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.
The only way I believe that we can salvage the land is by going through the tribal governments. I propose that the land be separated from the corporations and be given to the tribal governments, because that is where the ultimate authority lies, and that's who the true landowners are.

MANY PEOPLE HAVE CLAIMED THAT ANCSA WAS DONE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, BUT THEY ARE CAREFUL TO GIVE CREDIT TO THOSE FEW WHO DID WORK TO GET A LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT.

HARVEY SAMUELSON OF DILLINGHAM.
I know that Native land claims, it wasn't perfect in 1971 since we signed it, but that was the best we could compromise at that time with the Senators, Congress, the State of Alaska, and us. Prior to 1971, all the Natives I talked to they wanted a lands settlement of some sort. We knew it wasn't perfect, but that was the best we could compromise at that time.

NO ONE IN CONGRESS OR ALASKA WAS THINKING SERIOUSLY ABOUT RESERVATIONS, SINCE THEY WERE REGARDED AS FAILURES IN MUCH OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. METLAKATLA IS AN INDIAN RESERVATION IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA THAT DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANCSA. PEOPLE THERE FEEL THEY MADE THE RIGHT DECISION. THEY RETAINED OWNERSHIP OF ANNETTE ISLAND PLUS AN EXCLUSIVE FISHING ZONE SURROUNDING THE ISLAND. THESE RIGHTS WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST HAD THEY BECOME PART OF ANCSA. THERE WERE FIVE OTHER RESERVATIONS BESIDES METLAKATLA, BUT THEY BECAME PART OF ANCSA.

ALL OF THE VENETIE RESERVATION SHAREHOLDERS, TURNED THEIR SHARES OVER TO THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. STILL, THE VENETIE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE THE RECOGNITION IT WANTS. THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR HAS REFUSED TO TAKE THEIR LANDS INTO TRUST LIKE LANDS IN METLAKATLA. THE STATE OF ALASKA HAS REFUSED TO RECOGNIZE VENETIE AS INDIAN COUNTRY ACCORDING TO DON WRIGHT WHO ADVISES THE VENETIE TRIBAL COUNCIL...

The tribe has attempted to deal with the State of Alaska, which it has legislative authority to do on a one to one basis, a government to government basis, and the state administration, since 1971, has refused to recognize the sovereign status, the tribal status of the Venetie. We have letters from the President of the United States, and the from Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the area director that state we definitely are a tribal government, that Venetie is definitely a tribal government and entitled to all the immunities and all of the benefits of any other tribe in the United States.

ANCSA HAS BEEN CRITICIZED FOR REMAINING SILENT ABOUT SOVEREIGNITY. SPUD WILLIAMS SEES THAT OMISSION AS CONFIRMING THE POWER OF NATIVE GOVERNMENTS.
...there was nothing in the act that spoke to Native governments. Because there was no intention of any of the drafters that those functions would be monkeyed with, I mean, you're talking of governments that are 6,000 years old or even older. And when you consider an American government that's only a few hundred years old, it's a little incredulous today that the state or anyone would be challenging those governments as being legal governments or legal entities.

OSCAR KAWAGLEY OF BETHEL FEELS THAT ANCSA ILLEGALLY BYPASSED NATIVE GOVERNMENTS.
I think Congress and a whole lot of people that were in positions to make a decision, forgot all about our valid existing rights as a people. They were looking out for the valid existing rights of the miners, the homesteaders, and everybody else, the trappers, and whoever had access to the land. Those that have grown up where organization is very important, and ownership of land is very important, which to us was not the way that we operated. I think the U.S. Congress has forgotten the U.S. Constitution as well as many laws, that have given us the right to tribal sovereignty. And yet, now they're refusing to even acknowledge that Alaskan villages should be allowed to set up their own tribal governments.

ANCSA BROUGHT MONUMENTAL CHANGES TO THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF VILLAGES. TRADITIONAL DECISION MAKERS ARE FREQUENTLY NOT THE SAME LEADERS WHO RUN THE CORPORATIONS. THE STATE OF ALASKA ADDED ANOTHER DIMENSION--DISTRIBUTING STATE SERVICES AND FUNDS THROUGH MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS. FOR VILLAGERS THAT HAVE A TRIBAL GOVERNMENT AND NO MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT, THERE IS A ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR LIMIT ON STATE DISTRIBUTIONS.

There are fifty-five (JUDGE THOMAS BERGER) villages in Alaska where there is no municipality, and there are Native and non-Native people living there, I've been to those places. So what happens with state money that should go to those villages; it goes to the tribal government and the tribal government distributes it among Natives and non-Natives. It's happening now.

IN NORTH AMERICA TTHE AREAS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CONTROL ARE CALLED INDIAN COUNTRY. BUT IT'S A LAWYERS ARGUMENT WHETHER THERE IS INDIAN COUNTRY IN ALASKA. SOME LEGAL EXPERTS SAY NATIVE GOVERNMENTS HAVE JURISDICTION ONLY OVER RESERVATIONS. ANCSA FURTHER COMPLICATED THE AREA OF JURISDICTION.

In the Claims Settlement Act (SPUD WILLIAMS) whether by design or accident, they took the very ground underneath the communities and made sure that that went to a municipal entity. The very core of the towns have to be given to a state municipal government. In those villages that still have tribal governments and no municipal government, it has to be given to the state, in trust for a future municipal government. So the big problem with dissolving a city is how do we get the land back to the I.R.A. Maybe that will be the only solution. Just to grab the bull by the horns kick out the municipal government and go back to pure tribal government.

MANY NON-NATIVES WONDER HOW THEY WILL BE AFFECTED BY TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. JUDGE THOMAS BERGER.
There are ways of insuring that non-Native people can participate in the decision-making. The legislation that applies to Metlakatla now, says that the tribal government shall set up a tribally chartered corporation in which non-Natives shall be admitted to membership so that they can vote on matters relating to the availability of municipal services to all the people in the village. I don't think that non-Native Alaskans need be frightened by the suggestion that they are going be second class citizens wherever you have a village that has a tribal government. They may not be able to vote for tribal chairman, but there are ways and they are well known in the United States, for insuring that when it comes to the distribution of services to them, to Natives and non-Natives through the tribal government, they can participate in the decision-making. It isn't something strange and unAmerican. Tribal government is something that is part of the American system. It's been with us in the United States and in Canada for more than a century.

JUDGE BERGER IS RECOMMENDING A COMPLETE OVERHAUL OF ANCSA. HE FEELS TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS ARE THE BEST BET. ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES, INCORPORATED IS A ORGANIZATION OF THE TWELVE LARGE REGIONAL CORPORATIONS. THEY ARE SEEKING MINOR ADJUSTMENTS TO GIVE CORPOARIONS GREATER FLEXIBILITY WITHIN ANCSA. U.T.A., UNITED TRIBES OF ALASKA IS LOOKING FOR MAJOR CHANGES IN ANCSA, GIVING TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AN IMPORTANT ROLE. THE TWO LARGE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE ONE MAJOR POINT IN COMMON, ALLOWING CORPORATIONS TO TRANSFER LANDS TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. AKIACHUK AND TWO OTHER NEARBY VILLAGES HAVE FOUND THE YUPIIT NATION AND HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF EDUCATION AS WELL AS OTHER MUNICIPAL SERVICES. IF AKIACHUK SUCCEEDS IT IS LIKELY THAT MORE VILLAGES WILL FOLLOW.

IN UPCOMING PROGRAMS WE WILL SEE HOW THE REALITY OF SOVEREIGNTY WORKS, AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AND IN STATE CHARTERED BOROUGHS, LIKE THE NORTH SLOPE. PLEASE JOIN US. FOR HOLDING OUR GROUND, THIS IS ADELINE RABOFF.

THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED BY JIM SYKES, WRITTEN BY JEFF BERLINER, EDITED AND RESEARCHED BY SUE BURRUS. MARY KANCEWICK IS OUR SCRIPT CONSULTANT. SPECIAL THANKS TO THE COMMUNITY OF GAMBELL FOR DANCING AND SINGING, AND ALSO SPECIAL THANKS TO THE INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE. "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