Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, along with the support of Congressman Don Young passed a resolution recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. On December 18, 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was enacted to settle longstanding issues of the Alaska Native aboriginal land claims.
"When Alaska Business Monthly recently announced the Top 49 Alaskan-owned business list, it was no surprise to see that 8 of the top 10 were Alaska Native corporations. What some people in our nation may not realize is that ANCs are economic engines that have not only distributed over a billion dollars in shareholder dividends, but provide tens of thousands of jobs worldwide, Sen. Murkowski said. "The responsibility is great for ANCs. They are not just part of an industry that may come and go, but they bear the heavy responsibility of managing and developing the resources of the Alaska Native people while contributing to the success of present and future generations, village communities, and our state and national economies. On December 18th we will not only celebrate the past 40 years of ANCSA, but also the Alaska Native leaders who made this legislation such a success."
"Over the past 40 years, Alaska has witnessed astonishing economic growth resulting from ANCSA. This has benefited not just Alaska Native peoples -- but all Alaskans. This historic piece of legislation allowed for a new group of people -- who for centuries were economically disadvantaged -- to enter into the business world, and to become economic leaders. Under ANCSA they have contributed to the state and the national economies in unprecedented ways," Sen. Begich said. "In Alaska we innovate. We rely on fresh approaches to solve our unique challenges. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is such an example. It was a monumental act of Congress -- one my father pushed forward and one I now proudly defend. With our national economy in its current state, we need more of this in America. We need to lift up our people, to build capacity, and allow the first peoples of this nation to succeed. When that happens, we all benefit."
"There is no doubt in my mind that ANCSA has been a success for Alaska's Native people," said Rep. Young. "Many of the Native corporations have grown to become leaders in industry and are tremendously profitable which in the end benefits all of Alaska's Native people. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of ANCSA, let us not forget that there is still more work to be done for Alaska's Native people."
ANCSA is the largest land claims settlement in United States history. It settled Alaska Native aboriginal land claims in exchange for approximately 44 million acres of land. ANCSA created 13 Alaska Native regional corporations and more than 200 village corporations. The corporations have become very successful, following a corporate business model, returning dividends to their shareholders, and contributing to communities across the State and nation. ANCSA corporations have continually dominated the list of top ten of Alaska owned businesses over the past decade.