ANCSA Unrealized:

ANCSA Unrealized: Our Lives Are Not Measured in Dollars

The following excerpt is from an article by James Allaway, a professor and expert on sustainable economic development, and Byron Mallett, former president of the Alaska Federation of Natives and former CEO of Sealaska, one of the larger Native regional corporations. You can read it at this link, which will take you to the Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law; you can find this specific article in the Table of Contents on the left side of the page. Click on the title of the article to read, download, and print a copy of the text. These readings are provided by the Shapiro Library. This reading is required. You will have to log into Shapiro Library with your SNHU credentials.

One of the legacies of ANCSA’s short history is the confusion it has caused, including confusion over governing structures. Certainly in Southeast Alaska we have known that clans, family, and family relationships were critical in the conduct of our affairs. I think this was the case all across the state.

Existing traditional governing groups, with their relationships and structures, did not go away with ANCSA. In fact, especially in the last decade, there has been a resurgence of those institutions. The resurgence has been felt and seen all across the state, particularly because there was a universal sense that ANCSA, and other efforts that deal with our circumstances, were not getting at the core of what we needed.

It is crucial that there is a place for traditional tribal governmental structures. I think the emergence of tribes in recent years is not so much about governmental structures, but is a reassertion that we will take hold of our own lives. We will be responsible for our destinies, which is a powerful ideal. It also places a profound obligation on Native people.

There is a vital place for Elders here. We cannot know the past and have a sense of values, we cannot have a sense of place or purpose, without Elders. Elders are an important part of the spiritual path. They carry the fire. We do not need to institutionalize the role of Elders, other than to sustain them materially. If we do, they will sustain us spiritually.

Based on your reading in the webtext, select one of the following thesis statements. Your response should be two to three paragraphs long.

ANCSA and the Native corporation system have been good for Alaska Natives.

OR

ANCSA and the Native corporation system have been bad for Alaska Natives.

Next, revise the statement you have chosen to reflect the complexity of the historical events surrounding this issue. Provide specific examples of how ANCSA and the Native corporation system have had a positive or negative impact—or perhaps both—on Alaska Natives. Further illustrate the complexity of this issue by showing how the passage of ANCSA was contingent on at least three historical events or forces.

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