Q. How were Alaska Native Corporations created?
Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 in response to a rise in native activism and pressure from oil companies to smooth the path for a trans-Alaska pipeline after oil was discovered in 1968. The act allotted 40 million acres of land for division among 12 regional native corporations and 220 village corporations. The law was intended to settle longstanding land claims by Alaska natives and provide economic opportunities. Alaska natives and descendants born before 1971 were allowed to receive 100 shares in their village corporation and regional corporation.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is a good starting point for analyzing the mission of Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands.
Though the ANC (Alaska Native Corporations) have challenges and struggles unique to the Alaskan people, it demonstrates that native people can operate a modern corporate organization tasked with overseeing their own interest and goals.
As private corporations they can restrict their base of shareholders and keep voting rights within that base.
They can work with other native corporations to develop economic and strategic partnerships.
They can pursue goals and interest according to shareholders instructions and develop their assets as needed to achieve those goals.
The possibilities of developing Native Hawaiian resources using some variation of this concept could prove to be a more responsive and empowered agency tasked to address the concerns of Native Hawaiian’s.
A visionary private agency for economic and cultural development may be the only way to develop Hawaiian assets, exclusively for those of Hawaiian ancestry, that if done correctly, could be a boon and blessing for all residence of the State.
As OHA Trustee I will seek ways to work with the present OHA structure in ways to broaden and build its mission to create a more dynamic agency to address Hawaiian concerns