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Holding Our Ground Part 7


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.
"RISKING AND SAVING THE LAND"
(Part 7 of 16)

[Andy Golia, Dillingham] With the way the Native corporations are set up now, there's always the chance that they can lose their land. Right now village corporations are subdividing and selling some of their land to make a profit. Every piece of land that is sold is something that our future generations will never have because once it's sold, it's gone forever.

FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, PEOPLE ARE REALIZING THE LANDS THEY HAD HOPED TO KEEP MIGHT BE LOST. IN THIS PROGRAM, ALASKA NATIVES LOOK AT THE RISKS AND WAYS TO SAVE THEIR LANDS. 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.

[Nancy Anderson, Kodiak] One thing for sure will happen on December 18, 1991. On that date the Native corporations organized under ANCSA will cancel all outstanding stock and issue new stock to shareholders. The new stock we'll be able to sell. If the majority of it sells to non-Natives we will lose control of our corporation and probably our land. And what kind of impact will it have on us Natives?

PEOPLE ARE VERY WORRIED THEY WILL LOSE THE LANDS THEY HAD HOPED TO SAVE WITH ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT OF 1971. CONGRESS EXTINGUISHED ABORIGINAL TITLE TO NATIVE LANDS AND CREATED PROFIT-MAKING CORPORATIONS TO HOLD THE LANDS, ABOUT ONE-TENTH OF ALASKA. THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWN NEARLY ALL OF THE REST. ALASKA'S NATIVE PEOPLES BECAME SHAREHOLDERS BY LAW RATHER THAN BY BUYING STOCK. NATIVES BORN BEFORE ANCSA PASSED WERE ENROLLED TO A REGIONAL AND VILLAGE CORPORATION, RECEIVING 100 SHARES IN EACH ONE. IN 1991, THE RESTRICTED STOCK GOES PUBLIC.

WALTER JOHNSON.
The Alaska Native put everything, the land, the money, and according to ANCSA, they put their birthright and everything else into that corporate structure.

THE CORPORATIONS SELECTED LAND AND WERE GIVEN SEED MONEY TO GO OUT AND FIND A WAY TO MAKE A PROFIT. THEY WERE EXPECTED TO SUCCEED IN 20 YEARS. FIFTEEN YEARS HAVE PASSED AND SOON NATIVE CORPORATION SHARES CAN BE SOLD TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. WHEN MOST PEOPLE BUY AND SELL STOCK THEIR SOLE CONCERN IS WHETHER THERE IS A PROFIT OR LOSS IN THE TRANSACTION. BUT ALASKA NATIVES HAVE ALSO TO CONSIDER SELLING THEIR REMAINING LANDS, SINCE LAND IS THE MAIN CORPORATE ASSET. THERE IS A LOT OF CONFUSION AND CONCERN.

MUFFY IYA FROM SAVOONGA.
If I chose to sell my stock in 1991, I'm not going to sell my stock, but does that mean I will be treated as an outsider, pay an entry fee, and/or a lease for my house from the corporation when I've been living there for nothing before, pay a land crossing permit for subsistence purposes or if I want to go camping, that I cannot dig for old ivory anymore, pay for the land in order for me to be buried? What do, in actuality, I lose if I sell my stock?

IN THE PAST NATIVE PEOPLES DID NOT PLACE CASH VALUE ON THE LANDS THEY FREELY USED AND OCCUPIED. NO ONE COULD BUY OR SELL THE LAND. WITH ANCSA, WEALTH HAS BEEN ARTIFICIALLY CREATED ON PAPER WHERE IT DID NOT EXIST BEFORE. IF PEOPLE SELL THE SHARES CORPORATIONS AND THEIR LANDS COULD BE OWNED AND CONTROLLED BY OUTSIDERS. OUTSIDERS COULD ALSO CONTROL THE CORPORATION IF IT INCURS BAD DEBTS OR IT IS UNABLE TO PAY FUTURE TAXES. SINCE LAND IS CENTRAL TO THE WAY PEOPLE LIVE IN VILLAGES ALL OVER ALASKA PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT THE CONFLICT THAT HAS BEEN SET UP WITH THE CASH-BASED ECONOMY.

ALLEN PANAMANOFF.
We were talking about how can we be able to protect our land so that our people can go out and do what they have been doing for as long as I can remember and as long as my father's and his fathers', their father's and so on have been doing. So that they wouldn't have to worry about stepping on a piece of land that somebody comes around with a shotgun or something saying that, hey, you're on my land, get out of here.

NATIVE PEOPLES ARE UNHAPPY ABOUT THE PROSPECT THEY COULD BECOME TRESPASSERS ON THEIR OWN LANDS.

There is no guarantee that our subsistence hunting and fishing lifestyle will be protected. (ANDY GOLIA OF DILLINGHAM). Although many of our village corporations have made land selections based on prior subsistence use and have made plans to allow their shareholders the right to hunt and fish on such lands. What will happen after 1991?

HUBERT MAC CALLUM OF SAND POINT
...As a citizen of the United States, I resent somebody saying, you can do this with your share, you can't do this, it's restricted, we like freedom. I'd like to have my choice as to what I would like to do with my share in 1991. I think we're all able to make up our own minds and even influence our children.

One time I was talking with some young kids my age (ELLIE STICKMAN FROM NULATO) and I asked them when 1991 comes along and you're able to sell your stock and if your stock is worth $10,000 would you sell your stock? They said yeah, sure, I'll sell my stock right now.

It's a confusion in my mind. How in the world we're going to tell our young people to not to sell their land, (JUDITH ALLEN OF FAIRBANKS) because I know for fact, at home the young people are kind of crazy for money. They will sell it.

EVEN IF SHARES ARE NOT SOLD, IN TIME PEOPLE WILL HOLD UNEQUAL AMOUNTS OF SHARES. SOME PEOPLE NEVER GOT SHARES BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ENROLLED. THOSE BORN AFTER DECEMBER 18, 1971 RECEIVE NO SHARES EXCEPT THROUGH INHERITANCE. SHARES PASSED ON THROUGH INHERITANCE WILL MOST LIKELY BE DIVIDED, AND SINCE THEY ARE TREATED AS PROPERTY, THEY CAN BE WILLED TO ANYONE. SMALL GROUPS OF PEOPLE COULD CONTROL THE CORPORATIONS.

JUDGE THOMAS BERGER.
If half the people in this village sell their shares and the other half don't, then, the people that still keep their shares will control the corporation, and it's up to them to decide whether they will do anything for the people that sold out.

EXPERTS SAY A CORPORATION CAN BE CONTROLLED USING LESS THAN 15 PERCENT OF THE SHARES. CORPORATE DECISIONS AND VOTING PROCEDURES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE CONTRARY TO WHAT PEOPLE WANT.

Another way that village corporations can lose their land is through making bad business decisions. (ANDY GOLIA) If they make bad business decisions they can end up in the brink of bankruptcy and be forced to sell their land to pay off their debts. In the extreme case, village corporations can go bankrupt and disappear and lose their land forever.

SINCE LAND IS THE MAIN CORPORATE ASSET MANY CORPORATIONS RISK THE LAND IN ORDER TO RAISE NEEDED CASH FOR BUSINESS VENTURES. LAND IS FREQUENTLY PLEDGED AS COLLATERAL. CREDITORS ARE ALREADY
DEMANDING LANDS FROM HYDABURG.

WOODROW MORRISON JR.
The bank required that in exchange for a loan of three million dollars that the Hyda Corporation put up all of its timber assets as collateral. Thirty-four million dollars worth of assets as collateral for a three million dollar loan. The seafoods industry went bad in 1982. The company began losing money.

THE SEAFOOD PLANT SHUT DOWN AND THE CORPORATION INVESTED HEAVILY IN A TIMBER OPERATION. ALMOST ALL OF THE MONEY GAINED FROM THAT OPERATION WILL GO TOWARD REPAYMENT OF DEBTS.

[Woodrow Morrison, Jr.] Hyda Corporation will have stripped its land of 35 million board feet of timber and not one nickel going back to the shareholders. I own a hundred shares of stock in Hyda corporation, but that does not mean that I own a bloody thing. All I own is a piece of paper that entitles me to whatever percentage share of the assets of that company if it were to be liquidated. I don't own a chair, I don't own a pencil, I don't own a teaspoon of dirt. I can't even cut a tree on Hyda Corporation land because I don't own it. The company does. You know, might even go further and say the bank owns it.

SOME FINANCIAL EXPERTS SAY PEOPLE WOULD BE BETTER OFF TO SIMPLY LET MONEY EARN INTEREST IN A BANK RATHER THAN TAKING THE RISKS NECESSARY FOR BUSINESS.

ANDREW KELLY OF EMMONAK.
Should the land be taxed after 1991? That I disagree, very much so, because if we cannot make any profits or make any kind of money out of land, eventually we are going to lose our land. Only those lands that are producing or generating monies should be taxed.

THE STATE DOES NOT CURRENTLY TAX UNDEVELOPED NATIVE LANDS. SINCE STATE OIL REVENUES ARE DECLINING TAXES COULD BE LEVIED IN THE FUTURE. A TAX OF ONE DOLLAR AN ACRE COULD BREAK MOST CORPORATIONS. DOYON REGIONAL CORPORATION IS THE LARGEST 'PRIVATE LANDOWNER' IN THE UNITED STATES WITH EIGHT MILLION ACRES.

LINCOLN TRITT OF ARCTIC VILLAGE.
In order to pay tax on all that land that the Natives got, they have to be pretty rich, and the system is not set up to make Natives rich.

AT THE END OF 1984 DOYON HAD $16 MILLION DOLLARS LESS THAN WHEN IT INCORPORATED. HOWEVER THEY MADE SMALL PROFITS DURING EIGHT OF ELEVEN YEARS. BASED ON PAST PERFORMANCE DOYON IS NOT LIKELY TO BE ABLE TO PAY AN ANNUAL EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR TAX BILL.

THERE ARE MANY SUGGESTIONS FOR KEEPING THE LANDS. ONE IS MAKING SURE THE STOCK STAYS IN NATIVE HANDS. A PROVISION IN THE CURRENT LAW WOULD ALLOW THE CORPORATION FIRST OPTION TO BUY SHARES. FEW VILLAGE CORPORATIONS CAN AFFORD TO BUY OUT VERY MANY OF THEIR SHAREHOLDERS.

THE PRESSURES TO SELL MIGHT BE VERY GREAT IF OTHER PEOPLE OR BUSINESSES MOUNT SERIOUS TAKEOVER ATTEMPTS.

With the way the village corporations are set up now, there's no guarantee that village corporations will be protected from corporate takeovers. (ANDY GOLIA) I've heard stories that outside investment firms are scheming right now to take over some village corporations so they can sell the land owned by the corporations to make a profit. I don't know if such schemes are true, but I sure think they are possible.

FRANK JACK OF ANGOON.
Now if I were to sell my birthright, I wouldn't have any privilege at all but the person that will buy my share will have more privilege than I have, so therefore I'm strongly opposed to sell my share.

REGIONAL CORPORATIONS HAD ADEQUATE SEED MONEY AND SOME HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL, MOST HAVE NOT. SEALASKA CORPORATION MADE THE FORTUNE 500 ONLY A FEW YEARRS AGO, BUT THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO RECOVER FROM A PLUNGE THAT SENT THEM TO THE BOTTOM. THE MOST SUCCESSFFUL CORPORATIONS HAVE MADE MONEY ON OIL, MINERALS, FISHING, CANNERIES, TIMBER, AND CONSTRUCTION. THEY ARE THE RIPEST FOR HOSTILE TAKEOVER ATTEMPTS. VILLAGE CORPORATIONS HAD LITTLE MONEY TO START WITH AND LITTLE POTENTIAL TO MAKE PROFIT IN MOST CASES. THE VAST MAJORITY OF VILLAGE CORPORATIONS ARE IN POOR FINANCIAL SHAPE. IT IS THE LAND AROUND THE VILLAGES THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO THEIR SURVIVAL.

PAUL OONGTAGUK OF KOTZEBUE SAYS MULTIPLE PROTECTIONS MUST BE DEVELOPED SO THAT ATTEMPTED TAKEOVERS WILL BE UNLIKELY.
What we should be looking towards is a whole series of resolutions that would be like a porcupine. A porcupine has thousands of those little needles and the idea is that sure, if you really want to get a porcupine and you are a bear, you can do it, but the idea of a porcupine is that he makes it so painful that the bear doesn't think it's worth it. That is the type of changes that we need to have built into our corporation structures.

IF CORPORATIONS ARE ABLE TO BUY BACK SHARES AND KEEP THE STOCK IN NATIVE HANDS, THERE IS STILL NO GUARANTEE AGAINST BANKRUPTCY OR TAXATION. MANY PEOPLE SAY THE ONLY SOLUTION THAT WILL WORK IS TO SEPARATE THE LANDS FROM THE CORPORATION.

MILO ADKINSON OF DILLINGHAM.
I think that land should be transferred to some sort of membership organization where you can't transfer the stock. Those kind of lands should be protected so that everybody has an equal share and you can't get rid of it. The corporations would have the assets in pre-selected lands that they would need for development for economic growth.

PROFESSOR DAN FESSLER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA THINKS COOPERATIVES MAY PROVIDE SOME GOOD BENEFITS.
It preserves a communal attitude toward assets as opposed to an individual attitude. There are individual rights, but they are within the context of this communal umbrella. And that is a very attractive feature and has been for the three hundred and some odd years the cooperative has been used. There is no profit motive within the co-op, but the co-op is organized to benefit its members, it's run by it's members and it tries to draw a wall around the activities of the co-op and then it can deal as a very tough cookie with outsiders. You can't inherit a membership in a co-op, it dies right along with the member and reverts to the co-op.

BUT UNDER STATE LAW COOPERATIVES CAN MERGE WITH PROFIT-SEEKING CORPORATIONS.

[Professor Dan Fessler] So are they a good candidate to resist takeover? No they are not a good candidate to resist takeover.

ALASKA'S LAWS ARE NOW BEING REWRITTEN AND THAT LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN TO MAKE CHANGES. SOME SAY THAT IF THE LAWS ARE EASY TO REWRITE, THEY CAN BE REWRITTEN AGAIN.

THE LAND BANK WAS CREATED BY THE 1980 ALASKA NATIONAL INTEREST LANDS CONSERVATION ACT KNOWN AS ANILCA.

UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA PROFESSOR BART GARBER SAYS THERE ARE THREE SPECIFIC PURPOSES FOR THE LAND BANK.
That is that you are immune from property taxes for the period of time the land is in the Land Bank and while it's in you cannot develop it, you can go search for minerals and other things, but you can't develop it for other purposes. You are protected against adverse possession. The third thing is that, and I don't know exactly how we managed this, but you are also protected against certain state and federal judgments.

BUT NO LAND HAS GONE INTO THE LAND BANK DUE TO LACK OF REGULATIONS.

PAT SWEETZER IS LAND MANAGER FOR GONNAEW CORPORATION THAT INCLUDES FOUR VILLAGES ON THE MIDDLE YUKON RIVER.
When they talk about saving subsistence and everything else the only vehicle is the corporation, because they're talking about land management in a huge way. What we're trying to do is to force the Department of Interior to manage the land as the people out here want it managed; to stop negotiating Land Bank agreements because of Gonnaew's Land Bank agreement. What it was, and I know, is we negotiated the socks off of them. We worked into that agreement a means by which we had a perpetual renewal, and when they stopped it I knew that was probably one of the reasons it wouldn't fly, and it was. And so they came back and said, hey, listen, we're only talking about ten years with one five year renewal you see. So we're not going to make a servitude of our Indian Lands for that period of time for nothing.

TEN YEARS IN A LAND BANK IS REGARDED AS AN INSIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME FOR LANDS THAT PEOPLE WANT TO KEEP FOR GENERATIONS. BUT EVEN IF THE LANDS COULD BE HELD IN THE BANK LONGER, IT STILL DOESN'T SAVE THEM FROM BANKRUPTCY OR CORPORATE TAKEOVER.

ATTORNEY DAVID CASE.
If the corporation owns the land and it's in the Land Bank and the corporation is taken over, well, bingo, the people who've taken over the corporation now take the land out of the Bank presumably, and probably time their takeover so that it doesn't happen too far in advance of the time the land becomes available. So the Land Bank really won't protect you from corporate takeover problems.

WHILE THE LAND BANK ITSELF MAY NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION, ELIZABETH JOHNSTON, ATTORNEY FOR BRISTOL BAY NATIVE CORPORATION THINKS IT MAY BE PART OF A SUCCESSFUL COMBINATION.
In my view, I would like to see a combination of use of restricted stock together with the strengthening of the Land Bank, because if you have the restricted stock you keep the control with people who are going to be evaluating how they want to use the land for their own purposes, and if the Native community within Bristol Bay changes and they switch it over to some other criteria other than subsistence, then so be it. If they don't, then also, so be that!

MARY JANE FATE OF FAIRBANKS
...In regards to corporation land, we could classify our lands as planned by our shareholders, and for the need of the village users, and in many ways we could put them in corporate trusts, family trusts like other private people.

RALPH BJORNSTAD OF SAND POINT.
Set up a board of trustees for holding the land, and dissolve the corporation, since they've been just sitting on their thumbs for thirteen years.

THERE ARE A VARIETY OF TRUSTS, BUT NATIVE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR ONE WHERE THE UNDEVELOPED LAND CAN REMAIN TAX-FREE SO IT CAN BE PASSED ON TO NEW GENERATIONS. THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT HOLDS NATIVE RESERVATIONS IN TRUST FOR NATIVE PEOPLES, BUT SOME ALASKA NATIVES DON'T WANT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO HAVE THAT POWER.

STEVE ATTLA OF HUSLIA.
I don't think the land should be held in trust by the Secretary of Interior, and I think it should also be separated from the corporations, I think it should be managed, and owned, and overseen by Native People, local Native People. I think if it was managed by Native People from the local level, it would be managed a lot better.

IN THE MOST RECENT CANADIAN LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT IN THE NORTHWEST ARCTIC, THE PEOPLE ESSENTIALLY HOLD THE LAND IN TRUST FOR THEMSELVES. THEY ALSO HAVE CORPORATIONS BUT THEY ARE BASED ON MEMBERSHIP OF THOSE NATIVES WHO ARE LIVING, NOT BASED ON SHAREHOLDERS. THAT IS ONE POSSIBILITY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT.

ALASKA'S ONLY INDIAN RESERVATION IS METLAKATLA AND IT IS WIDELY REGARDED AS A SUCCESS.

THOMAS BERGER.
The people there were pleased that they had stayed out of ANCSA, and one of the reasons they were pleased about it was that it means their land is not in danger. They own Annette Island and they will own it forever. And there is no possibility of their losing it through corporate failure, corporate takeover, or taxation.

THE CONGRESSIONAL POLICY STATED IN ANCSA OPPOSES RESERVATIONS SO THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED. TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS ARE RISING IN POPULARITY AS ONE LOGICAL CHOICE TO HOLD THE LAND. THERE ARE MORE THAN 100 TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS AND OVER 70 I.R.A. GOVERNMENTS IN ALASKA. I-R-A GOVERNMENTS GET THEIR NAME FROM THE INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1934. TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS ARE SIMILAR TO THE I.R.A.'S EXCEPT THAT THEY MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE WRITTEN CONSTITUTIONS RECOGNIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR.

I believe that the land was (MARGARET ROBERTS OF KODIAK) given to the wrong, or was the wrong instrument to give to the corporations. I believe that the land should always be there for our tribes, for our people that I just don't see how the people in the villages can remain there if the land is sold.

TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS OFFER THEIR MEMBERS BROAD POWERS THAT CAN PROTECT THE LAND FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.

PROFESSOR RALPH JOHNSON.
The IRA government cannot go bankrupt. It'll continue on, it may incur far more debts than it has assets, but it's not subject to going under so to speak. It may have trouble getting money, but it's not going to go through bankruptcy. Takeovers there is no way that an IRA government can be taken over. It's chartered under federal law and there's no way under federal law it can be taken over: it's a sovereign government, it has attributes of sovereignty. The same is true of a traditional government, whether recognized or not, there's no takeover possibility for that. At the present time it seems clear from what's been said that village or regional corporations could transfer their assets to an I.R.A., I suppose in most cases we're talking about a transfer of assets from a village corporation.

THERE ARE DIFFERING LEGAL OPINIONS ON HOW THIS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED, BUT SOME VILLAGES HAVE ALREADY DONE IT. IN THE UPPER YUKON REGION, SHAREHOLDERS OF TWO VILLAGE CORPORATIONS SIGNED THEIR SHARES OVER TO THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. KLUKWAN, IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA, TRANSFERRED SOME LAND FROM THE CORPORATION TO THE I-R-A GOVERNMENT. THE VILLAGE OF AKIACHAK, ON THE LOWER KUSKOKWIM RIVER, HAS DISMANTLED ITS STATE-CHARTERED CITY GOVERNMENT AND HANDED EVERYTHING OVER TO THE I-R-A GOVERNMENT. MANY ARE WATCHING TO SEE HOW THESE VILLAGES SUCCEED. SOME CORPORATIONS ARE NOT WILLING TO HAND THEIR LANDS OVER TO THE I.R.A. GOVERNMENTS. SOME BELIEVE THE CORPORATION CAN EFFECTIVELY CONTROL THE LANDS AS LONG AS CERTAIN STOCK RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE.

WHETHER ALASKA'S NATIVES CHOOSE ONE OF THE OPTIONS REFERRED TO IN THIS PROGRAM OR SOMETHING ELSE, MOST PEOPLE AGREE THAT DIFFERENT VILLAGES AND REGIONS HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS. THEY WANT TO AVOID THE TYPE OF BLANKET LAW, LIKE ANCSA, WHERE EVERYONE WAS TREATED THE SAME REGARDLESS OF THEIR SITUATION.

MARGARET OKTOLLIK OF KOTZEBUE.
And now our main concern is land. The land is ours, it always was. And it's up to us now to let it always be. Right now we are stockholders, we own the land, we have rights as U.S. citizens to make our own decisions, to make our own choices with our own property. The Land Claims Act doesn't have to rule us, we are the people, we have rights, we can change that Act with amendments.

THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT HAS ALREADY BEEN CHANGED TWICE AND MORE CHANGES WILL BE REQUESTED SOON. NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS ARE WORKING OUT THEIR STRATEGIES AND SETTING THEIR AGENDAS FOR THE 1986 CONGRESSIONAL SESSION.

IN AN UPCOMING PROGRAM WE LOOK AT THE SPECIFIC PROPOSALS AND HOW THEY MIGHT WORK. IN OUR NEXT PROGRAM ALASKA NATIVES TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE HOTTEST STATEWIDE CONTROVERSIES, SUBSISTENCE AND THE LAW. FOR HOLDING OUR GROUND, THIS IS ADELINE RABOFF.

[PRODUCTION CREDITS, FUNDING CREDITS] THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED AND WRITTEN BY JIM SYKES, EDITED AND RESEARCHED BY SUE BURRUS. SPECIAL THANKS TO THE COMMUNITY OF GAMBELL FOR DANCING, SINGING, AND DRUMMING, AND ALSO 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 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

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


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Last modified February 7, 2007