by Rhonda McBride
Monday, February 22, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is almost 40 years old, but the debate continues.
Tribal leaders are meeting in Anchorage this week to revisit ANCSA, the legislation which cleared the way for construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline.
Under ANCSA, Native land claims were resolved.
In exchange, Native corporations received 44 million acres of land and about $1 billion.
Some tribal leaders say ANCSA was fundamentally flawed and fails to protect subsistence.
"Our lands need to be turned back to the tribal government jurisdiction and that's 45 million acres of that land needs to go back to the jurisdiction of the real owners and that's the tribes," said Mike Williams of Tribes for Tribes.
This week's gathering was organized outside of the major Native organizations.
Tribal leaders say they fear Native corporations would try to control the discussion, but other Native leaders worry that the debate could be divisive.