Old article, but it really highlights the divide between the corporate, bureaucratic institutions in our communities and the old tribal structures.
By Elstun Lauesen
The meeting at David Salmon Hall next to the Tanana Chiefs Conference Office building was nothing like the AFN meeting I came from. In this meeting the audience did the talking and the folks on the podium listened. When I walked in, Harold Napoleon was walking through a list of deficiencies inherent in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The date of December 18, 1971 is the demarcation between those who are vested in their corporations and those who are not, creating, in essence a ‘de facto’ termination date for Alaska Natives. He recalled that the prime motive at the beginning of the settlement movement was preserving traditional land use and hunting and fishing rights. Instead, ANCSA became a vehicle for separating Alaska Natives from their lands and imposing new rules and new classes of users on the hunting and fishing. The corporations created under ANCSA were supposed to complement the Tribes and help develop jobs and the economy of the Villages. Instead what has happened, according to Mr. Napoleon, is that the federal government now deals directly with the Corporations, by-passing the Tribes.