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ANCSA Celebrates 50 years

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 constituted a new approach in U.S. federal policy toward Native people and in the decades since it was enacted, the Act has become critical to responsible resource development in Alaska. The creation of ANCSA extinguished aboriginal land title in Alaska. It divided the state into 12 regions and mandated the creation of 12 private, for-profit Alaska Native regional corporations and more than 200 private, for-profit Alaska Native village corporations. One hundred percent of the profits must be returned to Alaska Native shareholders in the form of dividends, scholarships, employment, and training opportunities, or whatever manner the Alaska Native corporation boards of directors choose. Through ANCSA, the federal government transferred 44 million acres – and funds to compensate for land taken – to corporate ownership by Alaska Native shareholders under Alaska Native regional and village corporations defined by common heritage and shared interests of the Indigenous people within each geographic area.

ANCSA’s 50th anniversary recognizes the profound difference it’s made in creating the first socially responsible, for-profit corporations tasked with promoting social, cultural, and economic advancement of Alaska Native shareholders, their descendants, and communities – and all of Alaska – in perpetuity. This important milestone is also an opportune time to celebrate Donlin Gold LLC’s Alaska Native Corporation partners and the many Calista and TKC shareholders who are current or former employees.

In September 2021, the board of directors of the ANCSA Regional Association – an association of the twelve ANCSA regional corporations – unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Donlin Gold project. While some of the obvious benefits of the project will be to create jobs, education, and training opportunities for Calista and TKC shareholders and their families, the resolution also acknowledges the economic benefit that will flow to all Alaska Native Corporation shareholders. It highlights that these gains will not only benefit the Y-K region, but also, pursuant to provisions under ANCSA Section 7(i) and 7(j), “distributions from the Donlin Gold project will benefit the shareholders and families of the twelve ANCSA regional corporations and more than 200 village corporations throughout the State of Alaska.

The early Y-K region leaders who founded Calista chose the Donlin Gold area lands under ANCSA so that future generations of Alaska Native shareholders would own the land and use their influence to protect water, fish, and the subsistence way of life while sustainably developing resources – all for the benefit of additional future generations of Alaska Natives. Strict environmental oversight is the top priority of the Donlin Gold project and is the legacy of the first Alaska Native leaders who founded Calista and chose the Donlin Gold lands for their resource-development potential.”*

As representatives of key stakeholders in the State of Alaska, the support of the ANCSA Regional Association for the Donlin Gold project is greatly appreciated.

* ANCSA Regional Association Resolution 21-01 “Support for Donlin Gold Mine Project” dated September 16, 2021.


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