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Indian Affairs Committee Approves Murkowski Bill to Help Native Corporations Enroll Future Generations

Location: Washington, DC


Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved Sen. Lisa Murkowski's legislation that would make it possible for more Native Corporations to consider offering stock to Alaska Natives born after December 18, 1971.

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) initially provided that stock in Native Corporations would only be available to any Alaska Native born on or before Dec. 18, 1971 and those who inherited stock. Subsequent amendments also made it possible for shareholders to gift their stock to family members. Amendments to ANCSA passed in 1987 allowed shareholders of Native Corporations to issue stock to descendants born after 1971 provided that those holding a majority of all outstanding shares agree.

Senator Murkowski's legislation, S.449, would ease the enrollment process by reducing the number of votes needed to enroll future generation from a supermajority of all shares to a majority of shares present at a shareholder meeting.

"Enrolling future generations of stockholders is one of the best ways to ensure the vitality and success of Alaska's Native Corporations," Sen. Murkowski said. "This legislation should ensure that those corporations who wish to grant stock to any future generation be able to do so."

Sen. Murkowski introduced the bill at the request of the Alaska Federation of Natives. Its passage is expected to immediately affect Doyon Ltd., the Fairbanks based regional Native Corporation for Interior Alaska, and Sealaska Corporation in Southeast, both of which have expressed plans to ask shareholders whether to enroll descendants in 2006.

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