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The Corporate Whale: ANCSA, The First 10 Years Program

Program 8 of 10
McPherson, Karen Michel 1982

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5...4...3...2...1. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE AFN, THIS IS THE WHITE HOUSE IN WASHINGTON CALLING. I PRESENT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES...

[President Nixon] I APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO EXTEND MY GREETINGS AND BEST WISHES TO THE CONVENTION OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES. I WANT YOU TO BE AMONG THE FIRST TO KNOW THAT I HAVE JUST SIGNED THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT. THIS IS A MILESTONE IN ALASKA'S HISTORY.

[Narrator] THE CORPORATE WHALE: ANCSA, THE FIRST 10 YEARS.

[] The Reverend Merculieff from St. George Island...

This land of Alaska, which thou gave to our ancestors, who have come and gone before us, is now being handed to us a second time, by the Act of the United States Congress and our untiring efforts. A second chance is given to us by thee to be the new custodians and caretakers.

MORE THAN 200 VILLAGES AND GROUPS WERE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE BENEFITS UNDER THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, ANCSA, THE NEARLY ONE BILLION DOLLARS AND 44 MILLION ACRES GIVEN IN EXCHANGE FOR EXTINGUISHING ABORIGINAL RIGHTS. TO MANAGE THOSE BENEFITS, CONGRESS MANDATED THE CREATION OF VILLAGE CORPORATIONS, EITHER NOT FOR PROFIT OR PROFIT MAKING ENTITIES. ALL CHOSE THE BUSINESS OPTION AND SET UP NEW CORPORATIONS IN ADDITION TO EXISTING TRADITIONAL AND POLITICAL COUNCILS.

SEVEN VILLAGES CHOSE TO REMAIN RESERVATIONS: GAMBELL, SAVOONGA, KLUKWAN, ELIM, ARCTIC VILLAGE, AND VENETIE. UNLIKE VILLAGE CORPORATIONS, RESERVES RECEIVE BOTH SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE ENTITLEMENTS, DO NOT SHARE IN THE MONEY DISTRIBUTION UNDER ANCSA, AND ARE INDEPENDENT OF REGIONAL CORPORATIONS. VILLAGE SHAREHOLDERS ARE ALSO REGIONAL CORPORATION SHAREHOLDERS WITH 100 SHARES OF STOCK IN EACH.

MANY OF THE PEOPLE WORKING FOR A CLAIMS SETTLEMENT WANTED TO CENTER THE BENEFITS ON THE VILLAGES WHOSE PEOPLE USED AND OCCUPIED THE LAND, AND DID NOT WISH TO CREATE REGIONAL CORPORATIONS AS OVERSEERS.

EMIL NOTTI, THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES, WAS AN ADVOCATE OF THAT POSITION...

Our original proposal called for 95% of the money to go to the villages, because it was the villages that was ..uh.. losing the land. People living off the land were being impacted the most.

IN THIS PROGRAM, THE EIGHTH IN A TEN PART SERIES, THE CORPORATE WHALE, VILLAGE AND REGIONAL CORPORATION LEADERS WILL DISCUSS VILLAGE CENTERED APPROACHES TO MANAGING ANCSA'S LAND AND MONEY ENTITLEMENTS, AND IMPACT.

ØDividin' the maktak is they way it's always been
Dividin' the maktak between family and friends
We're sailin' toward to future, we're anchored in the past
Rich in our tradition, our ways will surely last Ø

WITH A SMALL POPULATION BASE TO DRAW UPON FOR LEADERSHIP, VILLAGE CORPORATIONS WERE FACED WITH THE TASK OF ORGANIZING INTO BUSINESS ENTITIES AND SELECTING LAND ENTITLEMENTS WITHIN THREE YEARS AFTER ANCSA PASSAGE. VILLAGES WERE GRANTED THE LAND SURFACE ONLY WITH REGIONAL CORPORATIONS RECEIVING THE SUBSURFACE ENTITLEMENT. THE ONLY INSTANCE IN WHICH VILLAGES WERE ON TOP OF REGIONS, FOR THE VILLAGE CORPORATIONS WERE UNDER THEIR [AGENT] FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.

THE ACT STATED THAT FOR FIVE YEARS REGIONAL CORPORATIONS WERE TO APPROVE VILLAGE CORPORATIONS' ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION AND AMENDMENTS TO THEM; TO REVIEW AND APPROVE ANNUAL BUDGETS. AND FOR TEN YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT, UNTIL DECEMBER 18, 1981, REGIONAL CORPORATIONS ADVISED VILLAGE CORPORATIONS ON LAND ACTION, THOUGH DESIRE FOR TRADITIONAL USE ON THE SURFACE COULD CONFLICT WITH HOPE FOR REVENUES FROM SUBSURFACE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT. IT WAS A RELATIONSHIP, THAT WELL HELPFUL FOR SOME FLEDGLING VILLAGE CORPORATIONS, IMPEDED THE IDENTITY OF OTHERS AND PROMOTED THE IMAGE OF REGIONAL CORPORATIONS AS THE INSTRUMENT OF LAND CLAIMS IMPLEMENTATION.

THE STATEWIDE ANCSA VILLAGE CORPORATION, [SAVA], IS NOW WORKING TO ADVOCATE ON BEHALF OF VILLAGE CORPORATIONS. ROSEMARIE MAHER IS A CHARTER MEMBER OF [SAVA], SERVES ON THE DOYON BOARD, AND IS PRESIDENT OF NORTHWAY NATIVE...

We've been lumped in as Doyon Regional Corporation villages, and we don't have our own identity. But yet we're operating as two separate corporations with essentially two different ..uh.. ideas on...which should be because Doyon is..is mostly a ..uh.. resource minded ..uh.. corporation. Where the village corporation can't take that attitude, because they don't have the resources. They have..they only have the surface rights, which would may be timber. Uh..but other than that, I don't see that they have any..anything common with..with Doyon's goals and objectives. Uh..so there's a definite difference in this..this organization.

DIFFERENCES THAT ARE PERHAPS MOST ACUTE IN BARROW, HEADQUARTERS FOR THE ARCTIC SLOPE REGIONAL CORPORATION. ASRC'S TREASURER OLIVER LEAVITT...

..and have not had that closer relationship with our own local village corporation in Barrow. And it's just the mainly difference in philosophy in the type of ..uh.. type of work that we do.

DALE STOTTS, CORPORATE MANAGER FOR THE UKPEAGVIK IÑUPIAQ CORPORATION, THE BARROW VILLAGE CORPORATION...

...formidable ..uh.. corporate strength that is in the region, is one of a colonialistic nature. So somewhere along the line in the growth of the region..regional corporation and their activities, they have..they have limited...they have disadvantaged the village level of growth. Uh..largely because they are more impressed by the other outside interests in the regional domain. That is development of resource, the oil and gas resources.

WITHOUT THE LAND'S SUBSURFACE TO DRAW ON, VILLAGE CORPORATIONS HAVE PURCHASED OR STARTED GENERAL STORES, HARDWARE AND BUILDING SUPPLY STORES, BUILT OFFICE BUILDINGS BOTH IN THE VILLAGE AND IN ANCHORAGE, OPERATED SAWMILLS, INITIATED COLD STORAGE FACILITIES, STARTED CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES AND FUEL DEPOTS, AND IN SOME CASES JOINED WITH REGIONAL CORPORATIONS AND VENTURES RELATED TO THE OIL INDUSTRY.

A NUMBER OF VILLAGES HAVE MERGED WITH EACH OTHER TO MAXIMIZE THEIR INVESTMENT POTENTIAL AND MINIMIZE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. AND IN ONE REGION, NANA, THE NORTHWEST ALASKA NATIVE ASSOCIATION, 10 OF THE 11 VILLAGE CORPORATIONS IN THE REGION FOUND IT ADVANTAGEOUS TO MERGE WITH THE REGIONAL CORPORATION. JOHN SCHAEFFER IS NANA'S PRESIDENT...

We took what we thought was a...was a ..uh.. a Western system that wasn't going to work very well. And we ..uh..made it more Eskimo. We were closer together, and we worked closer together for the same goals. So I don't think ..uh.. if you..if you consider NANA just a business corporation that gobbled up other corporations in order to get more land, uh..I suppose ..uh.. you can look at it that way, but that's not the way we view NANA.

KOTZEBUE IS THE LARGEST VILLAGE IN THE NANA REGION AND IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE AREA'S VILLAGE CORPORATIONS TO WITHHOLD FROM THE MERGER. LEGISLATOR AL ADAMS IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE KIKIKTAGRUK IÑUPIAT CORPORATION, KIC...

We feel that as..as a large village corporation, that we can manage our assets here, and then control...have control here in Kotzebue. And we can do more good for the people here in Kotzebue than if we did merge.

But I'm happy to say that I'm glad to see the other smaller villages have merged with NANA, because I think in the long run, it will help be a beneficial financially to their village corporation and its shareholders.

IN ITS FIRST TEN YEARS, KIC HAS DONE WELL FOR ITS 2,021 SHAREHOLDERS.

We have our annual report which I'll hand to you for your copy. And that's the '80, and ..uh.. it'll show you some of the investments.

KIC'S BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, AND STOCK, THEY'RE THE ONLY VILLAGE CORPORATION WITH STOCK IN THE ALL-NATIVE CORPORATION OWNED UNITED BANK ALASKA, YEILDED A PROFIT OF CLOSE TO $800,000 FOR 1981, AND ADAMS PREDICTS A MILLION DOLLAR PROFIT FOR NEXT YEAR. THERE'S A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD ON THE INSIDE COVER OF THE 1980 ANNUAL REPORT. IT SAYS, IN PART, "IN THE PAST, AS WARRIORS AND HUNTERS, WE DETERMINED OUR OWN DESTINY. ONCE AGAIN, AS CORPORATE SHAREHOLDERS AND MANAGERS, WE HAVE BECOME THE MASTERS OF OUR FUTURE."

Ø

My name is Glen Fredericks, and I'm the president of the Kuskowim Corporation. Uh..villages that merged in ..uh.. the Kuskokwim area, upper area from Kalskag all the way to ..uh.. Stony River. In 1977, I believe it was that we merged into one, throwing everything in one pot kind of, you know. And .uh.. [clears throat] we have our main offices here in a..in ..uh.. Anchorage. Uh.. and ..uh.. we take our..take care of our own funds. Uh.. we invest them ..uh.. in different banks in state..state of Alaska, also in Lower 48.

THE 10 VILLAGES IN THE MERGER OWN OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS IN ANIAK BUILT BY THE CORPORATION, A CLINIC IN KALSKAG ARE CONDUCTING GRAVEL AND TIMBER STUDIES WITH HOPE OF DEVELOPING THOSE RESOURCES, AND HAVE LAND HOLDINGS IN BUILDINGS IN ANCHORAGE. THE KUSKOKWIM CORPORATION, WHICH IS PART OF THE CALISTA REGION, HAS A BRANCH OFFICE IN ANIAK, BUT CONDUCTS MOST OF THE BUSINESS FROM THEIR ANTIQUE-FURNISHED OFFICE IN DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE...

...it's very hard to do business in a little village, you know.

THE BUSINESS CONDUCTED IN THE BIG CITY HAS BEEN PROFITABLE.

We haven't ..uh.. any other village haven't valued our land yet. Really, it's very hard to come up with a ..uh.. value of land, say Crooked Creek, you know. Because there's never been any sales ..and..and.. but our total assets is ..uh.. with the buildings we own and everything. It's about $12 million.

DIVIDENDS WERE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS AND NET PROFITS LAST YEAR WERE AROUND 3/4 OF A MILLION DOLLARS.

You don't hear too many village corporations making that kind of a profit.

Ø

Tanana, Nenana, Stevens Village, Alatna, Allakaket, Hughes, and Huslia...

THOSE SEVEN VILLAGES IN THE DOYON REGION IN INTERIOR ALASKA ARE MEMBERS OF RIVER VILLAGES INCORPORATED. WALTER CARLO OF TANANA IS THE CORPORATION'S PRESIDENT AND IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE DOYON LIMITED BOARD...

You might say we're just joint ventured as opposed to merge..merged or consolidated into one organization. All the villages still have control of their own lands, and that's ..was the whole idea behind this organization. Organizations also..uh... not to put everything in the same pot.

THE GROUP HAD ITS FIRST ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING SEVEN YEARS AGO AND DECIDED NOT TO MERGE, BUT TO RETAIN INDIVIDUAL VILLAGE CONTROL OVER LANDS AND INTERNAL AFFAIRS. IN THE DOYON REGION, THERE ARE, HOWEVER, THREE MERGED CORPORATIONS: GANA-A' YOO, MEANING "FRIENDS TOGETHER" IN KOYUKON ATHABASCAN, A MERGER OF GALENA, KOYUKUK, KALTAG, AND NULATO; AND MTNT, THE VILLAGES OF MCGRATH, TELIDA, NICHOLAI, AND TAKOTNA; AND ANOTHER MERGER OF THE KOYUKUK RIVER VILLAGES OF ALATNA, ALLAKAKET, HUGHES, AND HUSLIA; ALL MEMBERS OF RIVER VILLAGES INCORPORATED AS WELL. TO JOIN RIVER VILLAGES REQUIRES A MINIMUM $100,000 INVESTMENT BASED ON $1000 PER SHAREHOLDER FOR A SMALL VILLAGE CORPORATION OF 100 SHAREHOLDERS. THE FEE DOES NOT INCREASE FOR LARGER VILLAGES, AND THERE IS NO CEILING ON THE AMOUNT THAT MAY BE INVESTED IN THE HOPES OF GETTING LARGER RETURNS.

So far we've got..looked at ..uh.. river transportation, construction, ..uh.. communications, and, like everybody else, we wanted to ..uh.. maybe excavating work. We know that there would be a lot of work out in the rural areas, and that's where that areas we'll be concentrating on. We're looking at ..uh..uh.. services to the villages, they're our number one priority, shareholder hire, and profit. You know that the villages have half of the..half of the capital. So we could ..uh.. pull it together somehow, and we could ..uh.. do some great things ahead, I think.

YOU'VE BEEN LISTENING TO THE CORPORATE WHALE: ANCSA, THE FIRST 10 YEARS. THE EIGHTH PROGRAM IN A TEN PART SERIES WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY KAREN MICHEL MCPHERSON, WITH TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FROM PHILLIP KAKOWSKI (sp?). FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY KUAC SPONSORS AND THE ALASKA NATIVE HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM OF THE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MUSICIANS HERBIE VENT, BUDDY TABOR, TED WESLEY AND WILL ACKERMAN.

 

 

 

Part 1
"This 10 part series, The Corporate Whale, will listen to some of the events leading to the Land Claims Settlement, the mechanisms that were employed to manage the Act, government agencies, and Native corporations, hear how leaders assess the first 10 years, and predictions for 1991."

Part 2
"Both restrictive provisions included in the Act, what the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement is, and how it divides up the land and the money will be discussed in this program, the second in a ten part series: The Corporate Whale."

Part 3
"In this program, the third in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, Native leaders and others involved with the framing of the Land Claims Settlement give some of their thoughts on the corporate concept and how well that mechanism works for dividing the benefits of ANCSA: The Whale."

Part 4
"This program is the fourth in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale: ANCSA, The First Ten Years. Agency representatives and Native corporation leaders will give their perspectives on the land's aspect of the Land Claims Settlement."

Part 5
"In this program, the fifth in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, leaders of Sealaska and Cook Inlet Region, Inc., will profile their activities in dividing the benefits of ANCSA into profits for shareholders."

Part 6
"In this program, the sixth in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, leaders from NANA, the Northwest Alaska Native Association region, and Calista Corporation will profile their corporation's activities in managing ANCSA's benefit."

Part 7
"Both the Land Loss Formula and 7(i), the revenue sharing provision, were intended to be equalizers in the Settlement providing resource revenues to regions without rich lands and additional land to those without large populations. This program, the seventh in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, will examine two regional corporations particularly affected by the provisions, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in the north and Doyon Limited in the interior."

Part 8
"In this program, the eighth in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, village and regional corporation leaders will discuss centered approaches to managing ANCSA's land and money entitlements, and impact."

Part 9
"This program, a ninth in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, will examine the role of the Alaska Federation of Natives and its efforts to survive and continue to be a unifying body for the corporations who manage ANCSA's benefits."

Part 10
"In this program, the last in a ten part series, The Corporate Whale, leaders involved in land claims implementation assess the bill that Barrow activist Charlie Edwardsen, Jr., Etok, once referred to as 'a new harpoon.'"

Alaska Native Knowledge Network is responsible for the transcription of this series. We would like to humbly apologize for any misspellings in advance.

 

 

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Last modified August 14, 2006