Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Don Young and Ranking Member Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) today introduced the Southeast Alaska Land Entitlement Finalization and Job Protection Act, legislation that will allow Sealaska, the Native Regional Corporation for Southeast Alaska, to receive its remaining land conveyance under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.
"The bill introduced today has been revised and redrafted, once again, to address the concerns of the Administration and regional stakeholders alike," Rep. Young said. "This legislation will ensure that Sealaska Corp. can continue to meet the cultural, social and economic needs of its shareholders. From a jobs aspect, allowing Sealaska to select its remaining entitlement lands from outside the existing, very limited land pool would help all of the residents of rural and Alaska Native communities in the region."
"Four decades after the passage of ANCSA, it is well past time for Sealaska to receive their full land entitlement, which will enable the Federal Government to complete its statutory obligation under ANCSA to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska."
Supporters of the Sealaska land entitlement legislation include Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, the State of Alaska, the Alaska Federation of Natives, the National Congress of American Indians, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Alaska Forest Association, the Intertribal Timber Council, the ANCSA Regional Presidents & CEOs, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska as well as numerous other communities, community organizations, and tribes throughout Southeast Alaska and across the United States.
In June 2012, the U.S. House passed a previous version of this bill, but it was not advanced in the Senate.