A bill creating corporations for Native residents of five “landless” Southeast Alaska communities had its first hearing in Congress today.
Haines, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan and Tenakee were left out of 1971’s Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. That bill gave land, money and corporate status to those in many other Alaska communities.
Wrangell’s Leo Barlow represented landless residents at the hearing, before the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.
“Those of us who enrolled to these five communities during the ANCSA process did so because they are our traditional homelands and places of origin. Our families and clans originated in these communities and have lived here for hundreds if not thousands of years,” Barlow said.
Congressman Don Young, who authored the legislation, chaired the committee hearing. Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced asimilar bill earlier this year. Sealaska is also lobbying for its passage.