This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner Home Page About ANKN Publications Academic Programs Curriculum Resources Calendar of Events Announcements Site Index This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide
 

The Corporate Whale: ANCSA, The First 10 Years Program

Program 9 of 10
McPherson, Karen Michel 1982

MP3
(8.8 MB)
Windows Media
(3.6 MB)

Flash Sound
(1.7 MB)


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.

It is indeed a great pleasure and honor that I have this privilege of calling the 15th annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, to order. First on behalf of the Alaska Federation of Natives, its board of directors, and its president, I would like to take this opportunity of welcoming each and every villagers, each and every attendants, each and every student that's here attending this [very group among us].

A BLUE BANNER WITH THE STATE OF ALASKA IN GOLD HUNG ON THE WALL BEHIND THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVE'S CHAIRMAN NELSON ANGAPAK AS HE CALLED THE CONVENTION TO ORDER ON DECEMBER 16, 1981. THREE INTERLOCKING RINGS WERE SUPERIMPOSED ON THE STATE. THE TOP ONE BEARING THE WORD "ESKIMO", THE ONE ON THE RIGHT LABELLED "INDIAN", AND THE RING ON THE LEFT "ALEUT", SIGNIFYING THE UNITY OF THE ETHNIC GROUPS THAT COMPRISE ALASKA'S NATIVES AND THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE AFN.

IN 1966, 99 YEARS AFTER THE TRANSFER OF ALASKA FROM RUSSIA TO THE UNITED STATES, THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES FIRST MET TO PLAN A UNIFIED EFFORT TO OBTAIN A SETTLEMENT FOR LAND CLAIMED BY ALASKA'S ABORIGINAL PEOPLES. SCARCELY MORE THAN FIVE YEARS LATER ON DECEMBER 1971, CONVENTION DELEGATES VOTED TO ACCEPT THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, NEGOTIATED BY AFN REPRESENTATIVES, SPECIAL INTERESTS GROUPS, NOTABLE OIL COMPANIES, AND CONGRESS. THAT BILLED PROVIDED FOR 12 IN-STATE REGIONAL CORPORATIONS TO DISTRIBUTE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT, 44 MILLION ACRES OF LAND AND NEARLY ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN EXCHANGE FOR RELINGUISHING FURTHER CLAIMS TO THE LAND. BUT THERE WAS NO PROVISIONS FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE STATEWIDE GROUP THAT HAD LOBBIED FOR AND WON THE BILL. 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.

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

The thing that triggered ...AFN'S FIRST PRESIDENT EMIL NOTTI... Bob Bennett was area director for BIA in Alaska. He went back and was sworn in as ..uh.. commissioner. So in April 1966 Bob Bennett issued his ..[senate steering committee] telling what he was going to do to ..uh.. solve the Indian problem in America. In depth report, he devoted half a page to Alaska and said that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is drawing up a final solution to the land problem in Alaska. Uh.. I read that report and got to thinking if the BIA was going to draw up a final solution, then the Indian people should have something to say about it.

NOTTI, THEN PRESIDENT OF THE COOK INLET NATIVE ASSOCIATION, WROTE LETTERS TO NATIVE LEADERS AROUND THE STATE, SOLICITED FUNDS AND ORGANIZED THE FIRST MEETING OF WHAT BECAME THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES. HE EXPECTED LESS THAN TWO DOZEN PEOPLE TO ATTEND, 300 SHOWED UP. HE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES FROM APRIL 1966 UNTIL OCTOBER 1970, AND HE FACED THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING NATIVE GROUPS, HIS ANCESTORS SOMETIMES TRADED AND OFTEN FOUGHT, TO WORK TOGETHER.

History isn't that old. I was talking to Willie Hensley one day, and ..uh.. when I was a kid, we trapped up the Koyukuk River. And I said, you know, we were always afraid of those fierce Eskimos of the Kobuk Valley. And he in turn said when he was a kid, his parents told him, you know, "Don't go over to the Koyukuk River [??], because of those fierce Indians over there." So there was some of that and there is some of that, but it's disappearing. Uh.. it was very difficult to pull people together to form a statewide group and work together for a common cause. And ..uh.. and we had some very ..uh.. [??]. We were dealing with some tough issues as well as ..uh.. all the regional ..uh.. I don't want to say animosities, but ..uh.. regional differences.

EARLY VERSIONS OF THE LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT BILL PROVIDED FOR THE CONTINUATION OF AT LEAST ONE STATEWIDE COORDINATING ORGANIZATION WITH THE BULK OF THE ENTITLEMENT GOING TO VILLAGES, NOT REGIONS AS MANDATED BY THE ACT NOW IN EFFECT.

WILLIE HENSLEY, A FORMER STATE LEGISLATURE, NOW PRESIDENT OF UNITED BANK ALASKA, AND CHAIRMAN OF NANA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, JOINED WITH NOTTI IN THE EARLY DAYS OF CONGRESSIONAL NEGOTIATION...

I think that ..uh.. the lack of a statewide entity of some sort, I think, maybe was a mistake. But, you know, we never had the luxury of ..uh.. being able to think everything through. You know, many of us were young. We were going at 50 miles an hour all the time trying to stay on top of things. Many of us didn't have the benefit of wise counsel, you know, from Elders. Um.. and things were moving too fast. It was like being on top of a..a wave with little surfboards, you know, trying to stay on top it or get engulfed by it.

LEE GORSUCH, NOW DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA'S INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, CAME TO ALASKA IN 1970 AS AN ECONOMIC PLANNER WITH THE FORD FOUNDATION...

There was a great deal of ..uh.. fear that somehow a ..uh.. statewide Native corporation could subvert the intentions and will of the individual Native corporations. And there was also a feeling within the State of Alaska that a large Native..statewide Native corporation could serve as a threat and represent a third form of government in Alaska. So the fact that the Native leadership itself had its own misgivings about the ..uh.. the notion of a statewide corporation combined with the opposition of State, pretty much was a conclusive element that no one in Congress was going to go out on a limb arguing for a statewide corporation if neither the State of Alaska nor the Native leadership wanted one.And there was growing suspicion in the 11th hour of the negotiation. But somehow, having this funnel at the top, could subvert the actual flow of funds down to the 12 corporations. It was a chance that many of the Native regional leaders did not want to take and therefore ..uh.. eliminated it.

AN ACT THAT ALMOST ELIMINATED THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES ENTIRELY. WITHOUT AN ECONOMIC BASE, THE ORGANIZATION THAT FORMED TO LOBBY FOR LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT, WENT THROUGH TOUGH TIMES ONCE THE ACT BECAME LAW. WILLIE HENSLEY BECAME THE ORGANIZATION'S UNPAID PRESIDENT, THE AFN WAS INDEBT AND FOR SIX MONTHS HE WAS UNSALARIED.

FORMER ALASKA VISTA VOLUNTEER JOHN SHIVELY, NOW NANA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION'S VICE-PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS, SERVED AS THE AFN'S EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT...

The power sort of changed from AFN, that had been sort of leading spoke-organization for Native people during the Settlement Act. And that power changed. The regional corporations, to a certain extent, village corporations also, were primarily the regions who began to have the money and the leadership. And I think it's quite possible that AFN could have died. What saved AFN was the federal government and not on purpose, of course, as usual. But the federal government in 1972 and 73 tried to rewrite the Claims Act by regulations, essentially take what had been won away. And Native leaders throughout the state began to understand that what they won, although it was a difficult battle, might not be half as hard as keeping what they they thought they won. And that brought people back together again, and I think it's kept them together.

NOT THAT "TOGETHERNESS" HAS BEEN THE THEME OF THE ALASKA FEDERATION OF NATIVES. ALTHOUGH A DUE STRUCTURE FOR MEMBERSHIP WAS FIRST APPROVED IN DECEMBER 1973, ACHIEVING SOME FINANCIAL BASE FOR THE ORGANIZATION, NOT ALL ELIGIBLE REGIONAL NATIVE CORPORATIONS ELECTED TO JOIN AND WORK WITHIN THE STRUCTURE. SOME CORPORATIONS, SUCH AS ARCTIC SLOPE AND THE ALEUT CORPORATION, HAVE BEEN IN AND OUT OF THE AFN. RECENT CHANGES IN THE BYLAWS NOW COMMIT REGIONAL PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS TO JOIN. AND BY THE TIME OF THE DECEMBER 1981 AFN CONVENTION, ALL 12 IN-STATE PROFIT CORPORATIONS WERE MEMBERS.

AT THE CONVENTION, AFN CHAIRMAN NELSON ANGAPAK...

For the first time, in several years, all of the 12 regional corporations that were formed pursuant to the Land Claims Settlement Act are represented to this convention. The Aleut Corporation has rejoined AFN and at this time I would [like for us to give].. welcome Aleut rejoining the group.

STILL ONE NATIVE CORPORATION IS NOT A MEMBER, THE ANCSA OPTIONAL SEATTLE-BASED 13TH REGIONAL CORPORATION FOR ALASKA NATIVES LIVING OUTSIDE THE STATE. THEY HAVE PETITIONED FOR MEMBERSHIP AND BEEN DENIED. JANIE LEASK IS THE AFN'S EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT...

There are a lot of hard feelings ..uh.. between the regional corporations and the 13th region when it came down to ..uh.. re-enrollment when enrollment came up again. And the 13th region ..uh.. really had to push hard for..to get the shareholders from the regional corporations.

IN ADDITION THE IN-STATE REGIONAL CORPORATIONS ARE LAND-BASED UNLIKE THE 13TH NOW SEEKING A PIECE OF THE LAND ENTITLEMENT. IT PUT THAT CORPORATION ON THE "OUTS" OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT SEEKS A UNIFIED APPROACH TO LAND ISSUES, AFN'S PRIMARY FOCUS. WITH A LARGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS REPRESENTING DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS AND GEOGRAPHIC AREAS OF THE STATE, ACHIEVING UNITY REQUIRES A GOOD DEAL OF INTERNAL POLITICS.

The Tlingits certainly ..uh.. have different ways of ..um.. running businesses and running their corporations than ..uh.. maybe some of the Eskimos do. And just the personalities and..and the traits of the people are a lot different.

THESE DIFFERENCES CAN LEAD TO SPLITS AWAY FROM AFN.

We're an organization who represents if not all of the Alaska Natives then we represent a majority of them. Uh.. if AFN ever existed to where there was maybe four of five regional corporations that were out of AFN, then maybe we would have to reassess it. Uh.. but with maybe one corporation out which is the case ..uh.. then we still feel that we pack a punch back in Washington speaking with, you know, with one organization for all the corporations. Right now we have a Washington, D.C., representative ..uh.. Dennis Tippleman. We thought it's really important due to the federal cut backs .uh.. with the..affecting the non-profit and addition to any kind of information ..uh.. just keep on top of legislation, just to keep on top of the different issues.

My job...AFN WASHINGTON, D.C., REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS TIPPLEMAN... check every conceivable document that might have a notice of proposed rules. Whether it's in the federal register or a..a notice into the House or Senate side as far as which legislation has been introduced. And then to maintain a..a list of..of contacts as far as the players that are involved and what they might be doing over the course of the year. So sometimes my job is..is to read..read..read research and other times it's to meet with people and..and convince them of ..uh.. who the Native corporations are and what it is they're doing and try to secure something that is maybe favorable to their viewpoint. And it's helpful for the Native corporations and for the Alaska Federation of Natives; because some of this information they get, but they might get it through the mail a few weeks or several days too late. And by me researching it here constantly on a daily basis, I can get to them and alert them to information that might have relevance to them by just making a phone call.

TIPPLEMAN'S RESEARCH PHONE CALLS RELATE TO CONGRESS' CURRENT BUDGET CUTTING MOVE, WHICH SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTS NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS.

We've been relatively comfortable and..and have found services pretty easy up until the '70s. This is the first time the '80s look like we're..we're going to have some tough times. And I..I think it's realistic, not entirely appropriate, but ..uh.. something that can allow us to become better survivors in the 20th century world.

YOU'VE BEEN LISTENING TO THE CORPORATE WHALE: ANCSA, THE FIRST 10 YEARS. THE NINTH 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 TIM FRASCA AND MUSICIANS HERBIE VENT, BUDDY TABOR, AND THE KOTZEBUE NORTHERN LIGHTS DANCERS.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Contact
ANKN
Last modified August 14, 2006