Sealaska Celebrates Introduction of Legislation to Add Five Alaska Native Communities in Southeast Alaska to ANCSA
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Sealaska joins with Alaska’s congressional delegation and its 4,400 landless shareholders in the communities of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Haines and Tenakee Springs in celebrating the introduction today of legislation aimed at righting the historical wrong represented by their exclusion from the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

The legislation allows the five communities to form urban corporations and receive land entitlements under ANCSA. This new legislation would grant one township (23,040 acres) of land to each of the five Southeast Native communities that were excluded from ANCSA, providing parity with other Southeast Native communities listed in the original act. 

Sealaska has been involved in the lobbying effort to amend ANCSA for nearly 50 years, since its original passage. Most recently, in 2019, Sealaska supported the lobbying efforts in Congress designed to persuade lawmakers to pass legislation in support of these landless communities.

“This has been a long, frustrating, but worthwhile fight over far too many years,” said Sealaska President & CEO Anthony Mallott. “We are very close to seeing some parity restored to our region. Despite extensive research on the matter, Congress has never been able to articulate why these five communities were excluded. But the cost to them has been substantial – they have lost out on millions of dollars in community development, scholarships and economic impact, not to mention the simple dignity that comes from recognition and a restoration of indigenous land rights.”

ANCSA was a pivotal land claims bill that ultimately returned a small portion of Alaska Natives’ ancestral lands to the Alaska Native community and formed Native corporations to steward the land and provide economic, cultural and social opportunities to shareholders and communities.

If enacted, this legislation would create five urban corporations that would each be responsible for managing 23,040 acres of land in each of the communities. The land would be transferred from the Tongass National Forest, just as lands were transferred in 1971 to the 12 Southeast communities originally included in ANCSA. The five communities are not listed under the original act as communities eligible to form village corporations or urban corporations, even though each community displays historic, cultural and traditional qualities of Alaska Native communities as defined by ANCSA.

Sealaska board member Richard Rinehart is a landless shareholder from Wrangell, and has been working on this issue for many years. “It’s hard to believe this day has finally come, but we are optimistic that soon our fight will be over and our rights and status established in law,” Rinehart said.

“Sadly, it’s too late for nearly half of the eligible enrollees in 1971,” Rinehart said. “They have walked into the forest without seeing this issue resolved. But we will continue to fight on behalf of the 4,400 descendants now holding one or more shares of landless stock.”

Latest News

Sealaska Announces Spring Distribution of $19.2 Million

Posted 4/12/2024
As part of Sealaska’s continued investment in our communities and region, a spring 2024 distribution totaling $19.2 million will be issued to shareholders on Thursday, April 18. Sealaska’s board of directors approved the distribution at a meeting held in Juneau on Friday, April 12. The upcoming distribution includes dividends totaling $4.5 million from Sealaska’s ocean-health business platform, $3.1 million from the Marjorie V. Young (MVY) Shareholder Permanent Fund and an additional $11.6 milli...

Sealaska Spring 2024 Distribution Date Announced

Posted 3/19/2024
The Sealaska Board of Directors will meet on Friday, April 12, 2024, to approve the amount for Sealaska’s 2024 spring distribution. The distribution will take place on Thursday, April 18.  Shareholders can prepare for a seamless distribution by completing any enrollment or stock transfer paperwork, including gifting or inheritance, by Friday, April 12 at 4 p.m. The last day to make changes to addresses or direct deposit information is Monday, April 15, , before close of business, or online via M...

Sealaska announces Desiree Jackson to serve as Vice President of Administration and Outreach

Posted 3/6/2024
Jackson’s goals, experience are aligned with Sealaska’s vision for shareholders, communities and the region’s collective future. A focus on strategy, values and excellence has led Desiree Anax x’aséigu yé Jackson to her new role as Sealaska’s Vice President of Administration and Outreach. Jackson has served as the executive director of...

First Quarter Board Q&A provides shareholders an opportunity to connect with their board

Posted 3/4/2024
Members of Sealaska’s board of directors had an opportunity to connect with shareholders and answer questions during the Feb. 29 board Q&A session hosted on MySealaska. Directors Barbara Cadiente Nelson, Ka’illjuus Lisa Lang joined Executive Chair Joe Nelson and Board Youth Advisor Deikeenaak’w  Connor Ulmer in providing an update following January’s board meeting and shared upcoming opportunities and associated deadlines with participants. Sealaska’s language grant application period i...

Virtual Shareholder Orientation offers connection, information for original and new shareholders alike

Posted 2/26/2024
Sealaska’s Shareholder Relations team hosted a virtual shareholder orientation on Tuesday, Feb. 20 for an audience of nearly 170 shareholders from far and wide. This event offered both new and long-term shareholders a chance to learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of being a shareholder and answer questions about specific Shareholder Relations policies, procedures and protocol.   Shareholder Relations Manager Jodie Gatti, who joined the Sealaska team in November, was joined by...