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Holding Our Ground Part 9


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 - HOW IT WORKS IN REAL LIFE"
(Part 9 of 16)

[Fred Barr] Sovereignty is a birthright, you can't sell it, you can't give it away, it's something you're born with. Self-government is one choice that our people have to fully understand that that's an option still open to them.

A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT FOR GREATER SELF-DETERMINATION IS SWEEPING ALASKA NATIVE COMMUNITIES. STATEHOOD AND THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT HAVE EFFECTIVELY DILUTED LOCAL NATIVE GOVERNMENTS IN MANY VILLAGES. ALASKA NATIVES ARE NOW REASSERTING THEIR RIGHTS TO SELF-DETERMINATION IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. 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.

[Mike Albert of Tununak.] Our ancestors have lived here in Alaska since from the time who knows when, thousands of years. And today we are still living on the same country, same areas, the same place where our ancestors started up. This is where we have our real sovereign power.

[Sheldon Katchatag] We believe that our sovereignty is not given to us, it is something that stems from the will of the people. That is where we believe our power lies.

MIKE ALBERT AND SHELDON KATCHATAG SPEAK LIKE OTHER NATIVES IN MANY ALASKA VILLAGES. ESKIMOS, INDIANS, AND ALEUTS HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED THEMSELVES TO BE SELF-GOVERNING. TODAY MANY LAYERS OF BUREAUCRACY COMPLICATE LIFE IN THE ALASKA BUSH. ALASKA NATIVES ARE LOOKING AT A VARIETY OF WAYS INCLUDING TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS TO REGAIN CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES. THEY HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN THAT THE UNITED STATES AND STATE OF ALASKA CAME TO THEM WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT.

DAVID NANALOOK OF TOGIAK
We do not recognize the right of the Russian government to sell Alaska to the United States government without first asking the Native Community. And we as a Native Community have not given up our sovereignty, our dignity has never been surrendered to the U.S. Congress or to the Russian government. And if a question is asked to the Elders of all the communities within the state of Alaska about the constitutional convention of the State of Alaska and its adoption for its constitution, we feel that due process was not followed at that time.

A CHANGE IN STATEHOOD STATUS IS UNLIKELY. ALASKA NATIVES ARE NOW TRYING TO CORRECT WHAT THEY SEE AS PROBLEMS WITH EXISTING LAWS, AND TRYING TO MAKE SURE THEY FULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE DECISIONS. THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

JUDGE THOMAS BERGER.
Native people all over the world are seeking to establish their right to self-determination and to land. Pope John Paul the Second, in September 1984 affirmed that Native people are entitled to take their rightful place among the peoples of the earth. The Pope also affirmed the right of Native peoples to self-determination. He said, for you a land base with adequate resources is also necessary for developing a viable economy, for present and future generations.

THE UNITED STATES RECOGNIZES A GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR NATIVE AMERICANS ARE GUARANTEED THRU THE CONSTITUTION, VARIOUS LAWS, TREATIES, AND POLICIES.

JUDGE THOMAS BERGER.
Their attempts to preserve, on their own terms and for their own purposes, a land-based culture and way of life mark Native Americans off from other minorities. No other group can assert a right to a land base and to distinct political institutions founded on the recognition of Native sovereignty.

THERE ARE OVER 100 TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS IN ALASKA, SOME WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSTITUTIONS. THEY HAVE ABOUT THE SAME POWERS AS THE I-R-A GOVERNMENTS, NAMED FOR THE INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1934. THE I-R-A HELPED THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR FORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. MORE THAN 70 I-R-A GOVERNMENTS IN ALASKA HAVE WRITTEN CONSTITUTIONS AND BYLAWS. MOST OF THOSE CONSTITUTIONS SAY THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT HAS THE POWER... [Mike Albert] ..."to deal with the Federal and territorial governments on matters which interest the village, to stop any giving or taking away of village lands or other property without its consent."

NOTHING IN THE LAW HAS DENIED NATIVE SOVEREIGNTY, BUT ALASKA STATEHOOD AND ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, HAVE HAD FAR REACHING EFFECTS ON NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. AFTER THE OIL MONEY STARTED ROLLING INTO STATE COFFERS FROM PRUDHOE BAY, VILLAGES FOUND THEY WERE LIMITED TO SMALL AMOUNTS OF MONEY AND SERVICES FROM THE STATE UNLESS THEY CHARTERED A CITY GOVERNMENT. MANY VILLAGES WANTED SUCH THINGS AS ELECTRICITY AND BETTER AIRPORTS SO THEY FORMED SECOND CLASS CITIES. TWO GOVERNMENTS FOR ONE COMMUNITY OFTEN LED TO CONFLICT AND CONFUSION.

NORA DEWITT OF SAXMAN
... The state recognizes the municipality which is the City of Saxman but does not recognize the tribe. The federal agency recognizes the tribe which is the organized village of Saxman, and some of these agencies recognize the corporations and give them the same status as a tribe. Now the question is, who is the tribe? A tribe has sovereignty, inherent powers and is a recognized form of government.

THE CLAIMS ACT, IN 1971, EXTINGUISHED ABORIGINAL LAND TITLE ALONG WITH ABORIGINAL HUNTING AND FISHING RIGHTS. ANCSA CREATED REGIONAL AND VILLAGE PROFIT-SEEKING CORPORATIONS TO OWN ABOUT ONE-TENTH OF ALASKA. THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS OWN NEARLY ALL THE REST. TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS GOT NEITHER LAND NOR MONEY FROM THE CLAIMS ACT. MANY VILLAGE PEOPLE OBJECT TO THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT BECAUSE AGAIN, THEY WEREN'T CONSULTED.

GORDON PULLAR OF KODIAK.
As the Alaska Native villages, or tribes if you wish, have and did have at the time of the passage of ANCSA a sovereign status as domestic dependent nations; it was the responsibility of the United States government to deal directly with these Native governments in negotiating any type of land claims settlement. This was not done.

ALTHOUGH NATIVE GOVERNMENTS REMAIN INTACT MOST HAVE NO LAND BASE. THEY COMPETE WITH OTHER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND LAYERS OF BUREAUCRACY. SOME PEOPLE WONDER WHERE NATIVE GOVERNMENTS EXERT THEIR POWERS. THE UNITED STATES CODE SAYS THAT TRIBAL AUTHORITY CAN BE EXERTED IN INDIAN COUNTRY, WHICH INCLUDES RESERVATIONS AND WHAT THE LAW CALLS DOMESTIC DEPENDENT INDIAN COMMUNITIES. LEGAL EXPERTS SAY THAT ALASKA VILLAGES ARE DEPENDENT INDIAN COMMUNITIES. SOME SAY OTHERWISE. THE LAW REMAINS UNCLEAR AND UNCHALLENGED.

SHELDON KATCHATAG OF UNALAKLEET SAYS THE RIGHT QUESTIONS HAVEN'T BEEN ASKED.
It seems to me that if you want to recognize something as Indian Country you don't say, "I'm a white man, this is Indian Country." OK, you say, "I'm a white man, hey, Indian, Where is Indian Country." And that's one thing that they've never done.

INDIAN RESERVATIONS HAVE BOUNDARIES THAT DELINEATE THE AREA OF SOVEREIGN POWERS. IN ALASKA THERE IS ONLY ONE RESERVATION, CALLED METLAKATLA. MOST OTHER VILLAGES THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENT INDIAN COMMUNITIES HAVE MUNICIPAL AND CORPORATION BOUNDARIES. VILLAGERS ARE MARKING THEIR TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES ON MAPS HOPING TO EXERT CONTROL OVER THOSE LANDS IN THE FUTURE. THE PROBLEM IS THE TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES ENCOMPASS MOST OF ALASKA WHICH THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOW BOTH CLAIM TO OWN.

IN 1983 PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN STATED:
(character voice) " the constitution treaties, laws and court decisions have consistently recognized a unique political relationship between Indian tribes and the United States which this administration pledges to uphold. This administration intends to restore tribal governments to their rightful place among the governments of this nation and to enable tribal governments along with state and local governments to resume control over their own affairs.

BOTH I-R-A AND TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS ARE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED. HOWEVER, THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR HAS SO FAR REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE INDIAN COUNTRY IN ALASKA EXCEPT FOR IN METLAKATLA RESERVATION. METLAKATLA IS ON ANNETTE ISLAND IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA. CONGRESS ESTABLISHED A RESERVATION THERE FOR TSIMSHIAN INDIANS WHO HAD EMIGRATED FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA. BECAUSE CONGRESS DID NOT CONSIDER THEM INDIGENOUS TO ALASKA THEY WERE GIVEN THE OPTION TO KEEP THEIR RESERVATION OR PARTICIPATE IN ANCSA. THEY CHOSE THEIR RESERVATION.

CASEY NELSON.
While I believe that now, looking at some of the results of the settlement, I still strongly believe that we made the right decision at that time.

JOHN SMITH ALSO OF METLAKATLA.
From our past experience, we know that all these years we've lived pretty well off this island. Our men don't have to beg anybody to fish any place.

THE METLAKATLA RESERVATION HAS AN EXCLUSIVE FISHING ZONE AROUND THE ISLAND. THE RESERVATION IS WIDELY KNOWN AS A SUCCESS, WITH GOOD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CANNERIES AND TIMBER. SOME NON-NATIVES LIVE ON THE RESERVATION AND GET STATE SERVICES THRU THE TRIBAL CORPORATION, ALTHOUGH NON-NATIVES DO NOT PARTICIPATE DIRECTLY IN THE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT.

STATE SERVICES ARE ALSO DISTRIBUTED TO BOTH NATIVES AND NON-NATIVES IN 55 VILLAGES THAT HAVE TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AND NO CITY GOVERNMENTS.

THE STATE HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT ALL ALASKANS ARE EQUAL, AND NO SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. IN 1983 THE PEOPLE OF AKIACHAK DISSOLVED THEIR CITY COUNCIL AND TURNED OVER THOSE POWERS TO THE I-R-A GOVERNMENT. THEY SENT THE CITY CHARTER BACK TO THE STATE DESPITE WARNINGS THEY COULD JEOPARDIZE STATE FUNDS.

A dissolution of the city government (SAM GEORGE) was an effort by the community of Akiachak as a tribe to assert its governmental authority as a tribal governmental body that is an I-R-A Council is beginning to pass laws to regulate the members of the community. By passing laws that gets the Native community to protect our land base, as well as to restrict our members from selling their stocks. The Akiachak IRA council as a governmental authority is constantly working with the State and Federal officials in enhancing cooperation between our governments for the betterment of our people.

AT A MEETING IN MAY OF 1984, THE PEOPLE OF AKIACHAK DECLARED THEIR INTENTIONS. I-R-A COUNCIL PRESIDENT WILLIE KASAYULIE.
We, the Yupiit, having the common bond of living together in Akiachak Native Community hereby establish the declaration as sovereign nation with governmental authority over renewable and non-renewable resources within the jurisdiction of the Akiachak Native Community, to include allocation of land to members of the Akiachak Native Community. We, the undersigned members of the Akiachak Native Community hereby resolved to declare that: one, the Yupiit have never been conquered in war. Number two, the Yupiit have never given up any of their lands either by treaty and/or war. Number three, the Yupiit rights have never been extinguished. Number four, the Yupiit have the inherent right of self-government which has existed and still is existing since time immemorial, the Akiachak I-R-A Council is the sole governing authority as implied by the constitution and by-laws of the Akiachak Native Community.

THE AKIACHAK COMMUNITY WANTS TO MAKE CONTRACTS OR AGREEMENTS WITH THE STATE OF ALASKA ON HUNTING AND FISHING RIGHTS, WATER RIGHTS, AND EDUCATION. THE I-R-A COUNCIL WAS ALSO DIRECTED TO MEET WITH ELDERS TO CLAIM JURISDICTION OVER TRADITIONAL SUBSISTENCE AND CULTURAL LANDS AND ESTABLISH A TRIBAL COURT.

[Willie Kasayulie] We, the undersigned Yupiit members of the Akiachak Native Community hereby affix our signatures to this declaration as sovereign nation this 18th day of May 1984.

THE CITY OF AKIACHAK IS STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BEING DISSOLVED, BECAUSE THE STATE OF ALASKA CONTENDS IT WASN'T DONE PROPERLY. IN JULY OF 1985, THE VILLAGES OF AKIAK, TULUKSAK AND AKIACHAK FORMED WHAT THEY CALLED THE YUPIIT NATION. THE YUPIIT NATION HAS FORMED THEIR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT AS A PART OF THE STATE EDUCATION SYSTEM.

IN THE FALL OF 1986 REPRESENTATIVES OF MORE THAN 50 SOUTHWEST ALASKA VILLAGES WILL GATHER IN AKIACHAK TO DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO FORM A REGIONAL NATIVE GOVERNMENT. YUP'IK PEOPLE IN SOUTHWEST ALASKA HAVE MOVED TOWARD RECLAIMING SELF-GOVERNMENT FASTER THAN OTHER REGIONS, BUT THE SAME SENTIMENTS ARE SHARED THROUGHOUT ALASKA.

VILLAGE LANDS ARE STILL HELD BY ANCSA CORPORATIONS, AND UNLESS PRESENT LAWS ARE CHANGED, THE LANDS COULD BE LOST THROUGH CORPORATE TAKEOVERS, BANKRUPTCY, BAD DEBTS, AND TAXATION. MANY PEOPLE FAVOR TRANSFERRING ANCSA CORPORATION LANDS TO I-R-A OR TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENTS. A NATIVE GOVERNMENT COULD STILL SELL LANDS, BUT THERE WOULD BE NO THREAT OF LOSING LANDS THRU CORPORATE TAKEOVER. TAXATION IS AN OPEN QUESTION. IN THEORY, UNDEVELOPED LANDS COULD NOT BE TAXED BY THE STATE, BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS SO FAR BEEN UNWILLING TO RECOGNIZE ANY SORT OF TRUST STATUS THAT COULD FREE LAND FROM TAXES AS ON RESERVATIONS.

GARY LONGLEY OF COUNCIL
... Many villages are now beginning to think along the lines of dissolution of cities thus allowing the IRA or traditional council to be in a position to exercise their sovereign power. It would be very difficult to exercise sovereign power over only people. Therefore, the next logical step might be to dissolve the village corporation and allow them to exercise sovereign power over not only people but land. This would provide one organization power base in each village with sovereign authority over the people and, of course, the land. They would also be eligible for state and federal funding.

A VARIETY OF OPTIONS WOULD ALLOW CORPORATIONS TO RETAIN LANDS FOR DEVELOPMENT WHETHER THEY WERE CHARTERED BY THE STATE OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. BEFORE ANCSA, VENETIE AND FOUR OTHER RESERVATIONS WERE GIVEN THE OPTION OF GETTING TITLE TO SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE LAND IF THEY DID NOT RECEIVE CASH FROM THE SETTLEMENT.

LARRY WILLIAMS OF VENETIE.
We had a choice of whether to take the land or take the money. And the people very wisely took the land and they say we don't want no part of that money. We'd rather have the land, and that's the way it stands today. And it's up to the people in the tribal council to keep up that tradition of keeping the land as it is. We call ourselves a sovereign people, and that's the way it should be because we don't have to ask anybody, we going to hunt on our land or to get timber to build our cabins. We go out and do it without any waste. And we have our own laws that we follow, that's been in existence before the White man laws came into the country, and we still follow that, that's the traditional laws. It's the unwritten laws that we follow.

THE PEOPLE WHO HELD SHARES IN THE ANCSA CORPORATIONS SIGNED OVER THEIR SHARES TO THE TRIBAL COUNCILS, THEN DISSOLVED THE CORPORATIONS. VENETIE IS NOW EXERCISING POWERS OVER WATER RIGHTS AND OIL TAXATION. THE STATE OF ALASKA IS CHALLENGING THEM IN COURT.

THE OTHER FORMER RESERVES ALSO TURNED DOWN THE CASH, BUT THEY STILL HAVE THEIR ANCSA CORPORATIONS. BROWNING PIPESTEM IS AN OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY WHO BELONGS TO THE OSAGE-OTOE TRIBE. PIPESTEM ADVISES NATIVE AMERICANS ABOUT SETTING UP TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AND HAS SERVED AS A TRIBAL JUDGE. HE SPOKE TO A ROUNDTABLE GATHERING OF THE ALASKA NATIVE REVIEW COMMISSION IN 1984.
I get the distinct impression that a number of people equate the category of tribal government or Native government with-that that conjures up a notion of some kind of a primitive offbeat, out-of-step kind of government that is unsuitable in the 20th century. There are many kinds of people in Alaska. I'm talking about the tribes or the Native people. Two hundred and some odd villages, things of that nature. There can't be one solution. And it strikes me that that's the flexibility and the beauty of this thing. And government really serves two functions. One is to provide a form of governance, and the other is to provide services. For instance, if a tribe wanted to have a borough, why they could not create a borough under tribal legislation. I see no reason why a tribe who chose to have a corporation, could not create a sophisticated set of corporate structures for its own people, by virtue of tribal legislation. I see no reason why a tribe who desired to have a banking system could not create a banking system under the tribes law.

THE IÑUPIAT COMMUNITY OF THE ARCTIC SLOPE WAS FORMED AS A REGIONAL I-R-A GOVERNMENT IN 1971, JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT WAS PASSED.

ATTORNEY FRED PAUL.
One of the great accomplishments of the area-wide IRA up on the Slope, the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, was its efforts at protecting the land. It has brought major lawsuits for the protection of subsistence, of sovereignty, of dominion with respect to various land problems involving the North Slope Eskimos. The opportunity for the Iñupiat Eskimos to protect the land through the area-wide IRA is magnificent.

WHEN CONGRESS PASSED ANCSA IN DECEMBER OF 1971, THEY ALLOWED ABOUT ONE TENTH OF THE NORTH SLOPE TO BE HELD BY THE ARCTIC SLOPE REGIONAL CORPORATION, WHICH WAS CHARTERED UNDER STATE LAW. THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY THE FORMATION OF THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, ABOUT THE SIZE OF MINNESOTA. IN 1972, THE IÑUPIAT COMMUNITY OF THE NORTH SLOPE WAS LEFT WITH LITTLE MONEY AND LITTLE INFLUENCE. THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH IS A STATE CHARTERED GOVERNMENT AND NOT A TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. IT HAS DESIRABLE POWERS, ACCORDING TO JOE UPICKSOUN.
Under the borough concept, the four powers were one, that we had the power of taxation, secondly we had the responsibility of an independent school district with our own school board elected by our own citizens of the North Slope Borough. Thirdly, it gave us the power of planning and fourthly, the power of zoning. There was involved in there, what we would call grass roots participation and secondly, it would provide local control, which when you put the two together, would be exercising self-determination.

WHILE NATIVE PEOPLE MAKE UP THREE-FOURTHS OF THE NORTH SLOPE RESIDENT POPULATION NOW, THAT COULD CHANGE. PART OF THE SUCCESS OF THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH COMES FROM OIL REVENUES. WITH THE DECLINE OF OIL PRODUCTION THE BOROUGH COULD BE HEADED FOR TOUGHER TIMES.

IT IS LIKELY THAT MANY TYPES OF GOVERNMENTS WILL BE TRIED IN DIFFERENT PLACES ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED NEEDS OF EACH COMMUNITY.


BROWNING PIPESTEM.
There are some people who believe that any exercise of any authority by a tribal government is illegitimate. Well, I'll tell you now, those people are wrong. How do we dignify and legitimize tribal government? And the answer to that is simple. Know what it is, and exercise its authorities. That is the beauty of what was left here for you as a people. It is something that is uniquely a part of you. That has uniquely been a part of the law of the United States, that Indian tribes are people who have the power to make laws and to be governed by them.

ALASKA NATIVES ARE NOW ASKING CONGRESS TO FACILITATE TRANSFER OF CORPORATION LANDS TO NATIVE GOVERNMENTS. LOCAL PEOPLE CAN THEN CHOOSE THE MOST APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATION OPTIONS.

REGGIE JOULE OF KOTZEBUE
...The issue of land and sovereignty and regional corporations and village corporations continues to come up. While we debate these things and work out the differences, we have got to be very, very careful not to confuse those who will be taking over after our time is up. Because we wouldn't want them, I don't think, to have to choose what kind of Native they should be: whether it's a corporate Native, an IRA Native. The important thing is that we are Natives. The bottom line being that we really try to work together for the future of our children.

THE TRIBAL MOVEMENT IN ALASKA IS GAINING MOMENTUM. THAT TREND IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE IF NATIVE GOVERNMENTS ARE SEEN AS SUCCESSFUL. THE STATE IS WORKING WITH TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS WITHOUT OFFICIAL RECOGNITION AND CONTINUES TO DISTRIBUTE SERVICES AND FUNDS FOR NATIVES AND NON-NATIVES THROUGH 55 TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.

AT LEAST SEVEN OTHER STATES CONTRACT WITH TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS FOR SERVICES, AND SEVERAL OTHERS RECOGNIZE TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS OFFICIALLY. RECENT LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD HAVE GRANTED BROADER POLITICAL CONTROLS TO LAND, SUBSISTENCE, AND SOVEREIGNTY. ALASKANS ARE LOOKING AT THESE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AS THEY WORK TO ESTABLISH MORE TRIBAL AUTHORITY AND AMEND THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT.

IN UPCOMING PROGRAMS WE WILL LOOK AT SETTLEMENTS IN OTHER COUNTRIES, AND THE CHANGES THAT ALASKA NATIVES WILL ASK CONGRESS TO MAKE. IN OUR NEXT PROGRAM WE EXAMINE THE DILEMMA OF NEW NATIVES, THOSE BORN AFTER THE CLAIMS ACT WHO HAVE NO DIRECT PART IN THE SETTLEMENT. PLEASE JOIN US. FOR HOLDING OUR GROUND, THIS IS ADELINE RABOFF.

[PRODUCTION AND FUNDING CREDITS]
THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED BY JIM SYKES, WRITTEN BY BILL DUBAY AND SUE BURRUS, EDITED BY SUE BURRUS, AND RESEARCHED BY FRANKIE 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 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