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The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971


The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 was signed into law by President Richard Nixon (Lazarus, 1976). At that time, this law constituted the largest claims related to the settlement in the history of the United States. The aim of the ANCSA was to solve issues that had taken long about the aboriginal land claims around Alaska and stimulated economic development in the area.

In 1959 when Alaska was made a state, the Alaska Statehood Act, particularly section 4, offered that any land claims existing in Alaska would not be affected by the statehood and that the land claims were held in status quo. While this section preserved the land claims of the natives until later settlement, section 6 of the same act permitted the state government to claim what was considered as being vacant. Section 6 of the act provided that the state of Alaska had the right to select lands that were at that time in the federal government hands.

This means that the state government tried to acquire land by section 6 that had been subjected to the Native claims by section 4 of the same act and that were used and occupied by the Alaska Natives. This situation called for the need to come up with another act that would guide and protect the land claims of the natives.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

Areas of Impact
By 1971, less than one million acres of land was owned by individuals in Alaska. The law, as well as the Alaska Statehood Act, allowed for the ownership of approximately 148. Five million acres of land in Alaska initially under full control by the federal government (Lazarus, 1976)

The state of Alaska has per now has already received more than ninety million acres of the land claims that it had made with the use of ANCSA. The state now has a total of one hundred and five million acres under the Statehood Act terms. Originally, the state had twenty-five years after the Alaska Statehood Act following its passage under section 6 of the act to file any land claims with the Bureau of Land Management.

ANCSA moved the deadline to 1994, and it was expected that the Bureau of Land Management would complete land transfers subjects processing to the overlapping Native claims come 2009. However, there are still some of the Natives as well as the state sections under ANCSA that were not solved by December 2014.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here]

The law after it was passed created twelve regional economic development corporations targeting the natives. Each of the twelve corporations targeted a specified region in Alaska as well as the Natives who lived in the selected area. This way, the tribes were engaged in corporate capitalism so that they are part of the capitalist system for them to survive.

This meant that they could earn income while still staying in their traditional villages without the natives being forced to leave their villages to seek better work hence preserving their native culture.  The act also helped the natives in preserving their culture now that as they moved to look for jobs in other areas, they started to mix and prefer other cultures which they carried back home with them.

Despite the challenges related to ANCSA of 1971 such as some of the natives claiming that the law has hastened cultural genocide while others criticizing it as to be an illegitimate treaty which only involved tribal leaders and lacked participation from the indigenous populations in voting for the provisions of the act. The act has offered many economic benefits to the Aboriginal community that outweigh the negative consequences hence should be sustained. However, there should be amendments that need to be made in areas that the Act has faced criticism and challenges.

It was AFN idea now that they believed that the natives were likely to end up as part of the capitalist system for them to survive. The Act made the natives stakeholders of such corporations, and that meant that they earned more income without having to go to work in other cities.  The Act also ensured proper management of the land and any arising claims were dealt with is the shortest time possible and using a much simpler procedure. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

Lazarus (Jr.), A., (1976). “The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: A Flawed Victory,” Law and Contemporary Problems. Winter

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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