January 9, 2015

A Tradition of Activism and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

My fellow Alaska Native colleagues Maria Shaa Tlaa Williams, Holly Miowak Guise, and I will be presenting the panel "Native activism and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act," at the 16th Annual American Indian Studies Association Conference hosted by University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Thursday February 5 & Friday February 6, 2015. Please stop by if you would like to know more about the activist currents in Native Alaska and how they relate to our contemporary legal relationships to land. The abstract of the panel is below, along with our panel details.

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 was the largest land settlement made by the United States with an indigenous group. With the passage of the settlement the government formed 13 regional and hundreds of village Native-operated for-profit corporations in exchange for Native communities releasing their title claims to the Alaska region. Often maligned by the public, the settlement and their corporations, changed traditional cultural ways of living for Alaska Native communities in a variety of ways. This panel tracks the history of the settlement, with its origins in pre-statehood Alaska amid World War II Native alliances to the rise of the Alaska Federation of Natives through the Alaska Native Solidarity Movement. After giving consideration to the activist currents of political solidarity and their interests in maintaining traditional culture, that preceded the settlement, the panel examines how the introduction of IRA-based tribal governments in the 1990s complicated politics for the Native people, the corporations, and the State of Alaska. This is believed to be the first panel on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act by Alaska Native scholars at a national conference. 

Session 4      11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Title:  A Tradition of Activism and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
Room:  SUB Lobo A&B
Moderator:  Thomas Michael Swensen, Colorado State University

Holly Miowak Guise, History PhD Candidate, Yale University
Alaska Native Solidarity Movements During WWII
Maria Shaa Tlaa Williams, Associate Professor and Director, Alaska Native Studies, University of Alaska-Anchorage
Alaska Native Solidarity Movement and the Leadership Role of Nick Gray
Thomas Michael Swensen, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies,
Colorado State University
Impossible Sovereignties: The Alaska Federation of Natives, Native Corporations, and Tribal Governments in Alaska

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