- By Meghan Sullivan - Indian Country Today
Alaska is a unique place — record breaking temperatures below zero, summer nights where the sun doesn’t set, grizzly bears on your morning walk. With this comes unique laws and public policies. It can be confusing to keep track of the various Native organizations and layers of tribal enrollment options within Alaska, so we put together a list of definitions that explain some of the basics.
This story was originally published by the Anchorage Daily News on December 20, 2021. Read the original story at the Anchorage Daily News. Republished by Native News Online with permission.
What is the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)?
The largest land settlement of its kind, ANCSA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971 in order to settle Indigenous land claims in Alaska. It transferred title to around 44 million acres of land and $962.5 million dollars to 13 for-profit regional corporations and over 200 for-profit village corporations within Alaska.
Alaska Native Regional Corporation (ANC) - ANCs are the 13 for profit corporations formed under ANCSA. Each company, aside from the 13th corporation, received a parcel of land and a cash amount, based on the location of their traditional cultural lands. The corporations were designed to serve Alaska Native people, and have committed to cultural and community efforts in addition to their corporate responsibilities. 100 shares were issued to Alaska Natives born before Dec. 18, 1971. Unlike most corporations, the shares can be given away or inherited, but not sold.
Ahtna, Inc - This regional corporation covers around 28 million acres in the Southcentral Interior. Of that, it oversees 1.5 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Ahtna Athabascan. In the Ahtna region are: 1 village corporation, 12 communities, and 8 tribes.
The Aleut Corporation - This regional corporation spans 2 million acres in the Aleutian chain and the surrounding islands. Of that, it oversees 1.5 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Aleut (Unangax). In the Aleut region are: 12 village corporations, 13 communities, and 13 tribes.
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) - This regional corporation covers around 55 - 60 million acres of land in the North Slope. Of that, it oversees 5 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Inupiat. In the ASRC region are: 8 village corporations, 8 communities, and 8 tribes.
Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) - This regional corporation covers around 17 million acres in the Seward Peninsula and coastal lands of eastern Norton Sound. Of that, it oversees 2.1 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural groups are Inupiaq, Central Yupik, and Siberian Yupik. In the BSNC region are: 20 village corporations, 20 communities, and 20 federally recognized tribes.
Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) - This regional corporation covers around 40 million acres in Bristol Bay. Of that, it oversees 3 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural groups are Yupik, Denaina, and Alutiiq. In the BBNC region there are: 25 village corporations, 31 communities, and 31 federally recognized tribes.
Calista Corporation - This regional corporation oversees 62 million acres in the Yukon-Kuskoskwim River Delta and the Kuskokwim Mountains. Of that, it oversees 6.5 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural groups are Yupik, Cupik, and Athabaskan. In the Calista region there are: 45 village corporations, 44 communities, and 54 federally recognized tribes.
Chugach Alaska Corporation - This regional corporation oversees around 10 million acres on the Kenai Peninsula and the coast of Prince William Sound. Of that, it oversees 928,000 acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural groups are Alutiiq (Sugpiaq), Eyak (Athabascan), and Tlingit. In the Chugach region there are: 5 village corporations, 7 communities, and 5 tribes.
Cook Inlet Region, Inc (CIRI) - This regional corporation covers around 29 million acres in the Southcentral region, including Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Of that, it oversees 1.6 million acres. Due to its urban location, CIRI serves many Alaska Native cultural groups, including Athabascan, Southeast Indian, Inupiat, Yupik, Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) and Aleut (Unangax). In the CIRI region there are: 7 village corporations, 7 communities, and 8 tribes.
Doyon, Limited - This regional corporation covers around 172 million acres of land in the Interior. Of that, it oversees 12.5 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Athabascan. In the Doyon region there are: 26 village corporations, 34 communities, and 40 tribes.
Koniag, Inc - This regional corporation covers around 3 million acres of land in the Kodiak Archipelago. Of that, it oversees around 1 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Sugpiaq (Alutiiq). In the Koniag region there are: 11 village corporations, 7 communities, and 10 tribes.
NANA Regional Corporation - This regional corporation covers around 23 million acres of land in the Northwest. Of that, it oversees 2.2 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Inupiaq. In the NANA region there are: 1 village corporation, 11 communities, and 11 tribes.
Sealaska Corporation - This regional corporation covers around 24 million acres of land in the Southeast. Of that, it oversees 360,000 million acres. Its main Alaska Native cultural group is Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and Aleut. In the Sealaska region there are 12 village corporations, 24 communities, and 19 tribes.
The 13th Regional Corporation - This regional corporation oversees no land, and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. It was created for Alaska Natives who were no longer Alaskan residents. As a result, there isn’t one primary cultural grouping for this corporation.
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) - A federal law signed by President Jimmy Carter on December 2, 1980, which created 43,585,000 acres of new national parklands in Alaska, and established the addition of 9,800,000 acres of land to the National Wildlife Refuge System. Much like ANCSA, ANILCA was created to
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) - A non-profit consortium of 14 regional tribal health organizations, ANTHC provides statewide healthcare services to over 158,000 Alaska Natives and American Indians who live in Alaska. It provides statewide services in rural water and sewer construction, training, health education, and disease and injury prevention.
Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) - The largest statewide Native organization in Alaska, representing more than 140,000 Alaska Native people. Its membership includes regional for-profit Native regional and village corporations created under ANCSA, regional nonprofit organizations and tribal consortia that contract and compact to run federal and state programs, and federally recognized tribes. AFN is governed by a 37-member board, which is elected by its membership at the annual convention held each October. The mission of AFN is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community. AFN was formed in 1966 to settle land claims, and continues to be the principal forum for Alaska Natives to address challenges and topics within the community today.
Village - Villages are small communities in Alaska that typically stemmed from traditional Alaska Native land and still remain predominantly Alaska Native today. They are mostly in remote parts of the state, not connected to roads and reachable only by boat or plane. Many villages are recognized as tribes.
Alaska Native Village Corporation - Corporations created by ANCSA that are smaller than the overarching regional corporations. Each village had the option to create a village corporation, and Alaska Native residents of the village had the option to enroll as shareholders. Similar to the regional corporations, shareholders receive dividends from the village corporations and can’t buy or sell their shares. Not everyone who is enrolled in a regional corporation is enrolled in a village corporation.
Alaska Native Medical Center - ANMC is a 173-bed hospital that offers comprehensive acute care, medical specialities, primary care services and labs for Alaska Native people. The hospital works closely with rural tribal health facilities statewide, and is jointly managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation.
Non-Profit Tribal Organizations - These organizations work with villages in their region to provide social, education, health, tribal and other services for the community. Some of these tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia have roots or were formed in the mid-to-early 20th century. Others were created to lobby for ANCSA or were formed later. With passage of the Indian Self Determination and Educational Assistance Act, they began compacting and contracting with the federal government.
Copper River Native Association - The non-profit tribal organization for Eastern Interior Alaska, the Ahtna region, which represents 5 villages: Cantwell, Gakona, Gulkana, Kluti-Kaah, and Tazlina.
Aleutian Pribilof Island Association - The non-profit tribal organization for the Aleutian, East Aleutian and Pribilof islands, or Aleut Corporation region, which represents 13 villages: Akutan, Atka, Belkofski, False Pass, King Cove, Nelson Lagoon, Nikolski, Pauloff Harbor, Sand Point, St. George, St. Paul, Unalaska, and Unga.
Arctic Slope Native Association - The non-profit tribal organization for the North Slope of Alaska, or the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation region, which represents 8 villages: Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Utqiaġvik, and Wainwright.
Kawerak, Incorporated - The non-profit tribal organization for the Bering Straits region, which represents 20 villages: Brevig Mission, Council, Diomede, Elim, Gambell, Golovin, King Island, Koyuk, Mary’s Igloo, Nome, Savoonga, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref, Solomon, St. Michael, Stebbins, Teller, Unalakleet, Wales, and White Mountain.
Bristol Bay Native Association - The non-profit tribal organization for the Bristol Bay region, which represents 31 villages: Aleknagik, Chignik Bay, Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Clarks Point, Curyung, Egegik, Ekuk, Ekwok, Igiugig, Iliamna, Ivanof Bay, Kanatak, King Salmon, Kokhanok, Koliganek, Levelock, Manokotak, Naknek, New Stuyahok, Newhalen, Nondalton, Pedro Bay, Perryville, Pilot Point, Port Heiden, Portage Creek, South Naknek, Togiak, Twin Hills, and Ugashik.
Association of Village Council Presidents - The non-profit tribal consortium for Western Alaska, the Calista region, which represents 56 villages, including the regional hub Bethel, Aniak, St. Mary’s, Emmonak and Hooper Bay.
Chugachmiut - The non-profit tribal organization for the Prince William Sound, or Chugach region, which represents 7 communities: Chenega Bay, Cordova, English Bay, Port Graham, Seward, Tatitlek, and Valdez.
Cook Inlet Tribal Council - The non-profit tribal organization for the southcentral Cook Inlet region, which represents 8 tribes: the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, the Native Village of Eklutna, the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, the Knik Tribal Council, the Ninilchik Traditional Council, the Salamatof Tribe, the Seldovia Village Tribe, and the Native Village of Tyonek.
Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) - The non-profit organization for Interior Alaska, the Doyon region, which represents 41 villages: Anvik, Grayling, Holy Cross, Shageluk, McGrath, Medfra, Nikolai Takotna, Telida, Eagle, Dot Lake, Healy Lake, Northway, Tanacross, Tetlin, Tok, Arctic Village, Beaver, Birch Creek, Canyon Village, Chalkyitsik, Circle, Fort Yukon, Venetie, Galena, Huslia, Kaltag, Koyukuk, Nulato, Ruby, Alatna, Allakaket, Evansville, Hughes, Lake Minchumina, Manley Hot Springs, Minto, Nenana, Rampart, Stevens Village, and Tanana.
Kodiak Area Native Association - The non-profit tribal organization for the Koniag region, which represents 6 communities: Akhiok, Kodiak, Karluk, Larsen Bay, Old Harbor, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions.
Maniilaq Association - The non-profit tribal organization for the NANA region, which represents 12 communities: Kotzebue, Ambler, Buckland, Deering, Kiana, Kivalina, Kobuk, Noatak, Noorvik, Point Hope, Selawik, and Shungkak.
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska - The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) is a federally recognized tribe representing over 32,000 Tlingit and Haida Indians worldwide. It provides services to enrolled citizens in 19 tribes including Anchorage, Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Kasaan, Ketchikan, Klawock, Klukwan, Metlakatla, Pelican, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat, in Alaska, along with citizens in San Francisco and Seattle.
Websites for regional nonprofit and tribal entities:
- Arctic Slope Native Association
- Kawerak, Inc.
- Maniilaq, Inc.
- Association of Village Council Presidents
- Tanana Chiefs Conference
- Cook Inlet Tribal Council
- Bristol Bay Native Association
- Aleutian Pribilof Island Association
- Chugach Native Association
- Tlingit-Haida Central Council
- Kodiak Area Native Association
- Copper River Native Association
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.