The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) was a new approach by Congress to federal Indian policy.

Sealaska directors sign the Sealaska articles of incorporation in 1972 with Assistant Secretary of the Interior Harrison Loesch. Pictured L to R: Clarence Jackson, Jon Borbridge, Jr., Marlene Johnson, Harrison Loesch, Dick Kito, Leonard Kato

With reservations in the Lower 48 largely viewed as an undesirable solution to Native land claims, ANCSA’s answer was to enroll Alaska Native people as shareholders in corporations that held title to a portion of our traditional homeland. It divided the state into 12 distinct geographic regions.

It mandated the creation of 12 private, for-profit Alaska Native regional corporations and over 200 private, for-profit Alaska Native village corporations.

ANCSA also mandated that both regional and village corporations be owned by enrolled Alaska Native shareholders. All Alaska Natives with one quarter or more Alaska Native blood quantum who were alive at the time were eligible to enroll.

Land Settlement
Through ANCSA, the federal government transferred 44 million acres of land to Alaska Native regional and village corporations. Of the 44 million acres, Sealaska was conveyed 365,000 acres, which equates to approximately 1.6% of the traditional homelands of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.

Through ANCSA, Alaska Native shareholders’ land is held by regional corporations.

Monetary Settlement
With the passage of ANCSA, the federal government also compensated the newly formed Alaska Native corporations with a total of $962.5 million for land lost in the settlement agreement.