UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Juneau Area Office
P.O. Box 3-8000
Juneau, Alaska 99801
August 6, 1973
Attached for your information is a briefing paper on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act which I presented to Assistant to the Secretary for Indian Affairs, Marvin L. Franklin, in Washington, D.C., during July.
/s/ Morris Thompson
JULY 23, 1973
Today I would like to present to you as a member of the Alaska Task Force, an overview of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, its ramifications on the social and economic well-being of the Native people in Alaska; and the Bureau of Indian Affairs involvement in implementing this remarkable piece of legislation. It is extremely complex and has resulted in many tight deadlines involving large amounts of money, land and people.
Never in our Nation's history has a group of Native Americans faced a more critical period than the Native Alaskan will be confronted with in the next decade or two. A relatively few acculturated and sophisticated Natives will join with isolated villagers having little understanding of the modern world or ability to communicate in English to make decisions that will determine the success or failure of the Claims Settlement.
The Act states clearly . . . "that there is an immediate need for a fair and just settlement of all claims made by Natives . . . the settlement should be accomplished rapidly, with certainty, in conformity with-the real economic and social needs of Natives . . . with maximum participation by Natives in decisions affecting their rights and property. . . ."
These provisions place a special responsibility on the Bureau of Indian Affairs charged as it is with the protection and cultivation of the rights of our aboriginal peoples, their property and resources. Involved as it is with reorganization and realignment the Bureau should not overlook the importance of the Settlement Act to Alaska Natives and decisions and policy guidelines needed to implement it should be given top priority. It is essential that the Alaska Natives' view be clearly understood in our Washington offices and that their interests are fully represented. Furthermore, it is imperative that Bureau officials have a thorough understanding of the Act and the Native stand on the issues concerning it.
Alaska is one-fifth the size of the "Lower 48" with a coastline of 33,000 miles, which exceeds the length of the coastline of the entire continental United States.
The distance from Ketchikan to Attu in air miles is comparable to the distance from Miami, Florida to San Diego, California. It is the only state in the Union with four time zones.
Of the more than 621,000 Alaska Natives, roughly 40,000 are Eskimos, 2,000 are Aleuts, and 20,000 are Indians. They live in 250 widely scattered villages, rarely connected to one another by roads. At the present time, the United States government owns or controls over 95 percent of the 365 million acres of land in Alaska.
With the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act on December 18, 1971, significant changes in the control and use of Alaska land became law. As the various provisions of the Settlement Act are carried out, the patterns of land ownership will be altered dramatically. Notably, 40 million acres of land will be conveyed to Alaska Native corporations, beginning immediately upon completion of the Alaska Native enrollment on December 18, 1973. This cession of land to a group of Native Americans is the largest in the history of the United States.
Concurrently, and in addition to the land settlement, the United States government and the State of Alaska will award a $962,500,000 cash settlement to the Native regional and village corporations which are organized in accordance with the settlement legislation.
The Act stipulates that the State of Alaska he divided into twelve geographic regions, each region being composed of Native people having a common cultural heritage and sharing common interests. These regions are based partially upon the boundaries of Native Associations which had been formed prior to the settlement.
Thus, the three basic components of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act are land, money, and an inter-related corporate structure of Native villages and regions.
Not named in the Act, but of great significance in unifying Native affairs are two statewide organizations, the Alaska Federation of Natives, Incorporated, and the Alaska Native Foundation. AFN was organized in 1966 to press for a speedy but just settlement of the Native land claims. To this end AFN leaders coordinated a sustained and intensive lobbying program which culminated with the passage of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act on December 18, 1971.
Now, AFN, from its offices in Anchorage, is actively involved in carrying out the Claims Settlement and a host of other activities of concern to Natives statewide education, health, housing, and economic development. Another influential Native organization is the Alaska Native Foundation. Initially sponsored by AFN and funded b a grant from the Ford Foundation, this organization was established in 1968 as a non-profit, non-political arm of AFN. It was formed to plan for and develop Native resources both human and natural.
The Native Foundation has retained the service of Robert R. Nathan Associates, Inc., a consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Their main office is in Anchorage where a representative of the consulting firm is stationed to head a small staff of planners and other specialists, a majority of them Natives.
Through the Foundation, Native leaders have worked to identify and inform people in villages and elsewhere as to potential areas of economic and social development for Native Alaskans. They have developed information and planning guidelines to help Native people and others better understand the implications of both the land and money settlement. On-going activities of the Foundation include publication of studies and a bi-weekly bulletin concerning questions the village people ask and the actions they must take to successfully carry out the Act.
ENROLLMENT PERT/TIME SYSTEM
Various responsibilities for implementing the Act were delegated to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management. The enrollment of Alaska Natives was a task assigned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The enrollment is of primary importance to implementation of the Act as it is the basic foundation upon which the Native corporations will identify stockholders, distribute funds and select lands. This enrollment is the largest ever undertaken by the Bureau with between 90 to 100 thousand persons enumerated within a short 18 months. At present, eligible Natives are being certified for enrollment with all pertinent information being encoded and microfilmed at the Indian Affairs Data Center in Albuquerque.
We have established a PERT/TIME System to ensure meeting the deadline. This system provides us weekly feedback on progress and problem areas by utilizing the critical path analysis method. In spite of personnel freezes and tight budgets, we have managed to hire and maintain a staff of highly competent employees, most of whom are temporary. Other permanent employees have been detailed to the Enrollment office from Juneau and other Area offices on a need basis.
Full cooperation and assistance from the Central Office has been received, as well as from other Area Directors, in planning, organizing and training for enumeration and enrollment. This task has required innovative approaches, close coordination and cooperation, and much dedication and hard work by our Enrollment staff.
Some of the more significant aspects of this enrollment are:
"Buy Indian" contracts with the twelve Regional Corporations to conduct the enumeration within their regions.
A world-wide media campaign that included radio and TV coverage, major newspaper and magazine ads, and Armed Forces network coverage.
Production of a 16 mm film describing the Alaska Native Claims Act.
This enrollment is Juneau Area's number one priority. In spite of the terrific pressures, we are confident that we will complete this roll on time and establish a new standard for future BIA enrollment programs.
We are estimating that approximately 80,000 Alaska Natives will be found eligible and enrolled by the deadline of December 18, 1973.
For purposes of this enrollment, any U.S. citizen who is of 1/4 degree or more Indian, Aleut or Eskimo ancestry, born on or before December 18, 1971, is considered eligible; no matter where he was born or lives or if he has died since passage.
The completed roll will show each person as a resident of a village and/or region, thus eligible to become a stockholder in the village and Regional corporations. Persons who do not claim to be permanent residents of Alaska may elect to become members of a 13th Region. Votes will be counted by computer from November 6 to 9. If a majority of out-of-state Alaska Natives vote for a 13th Regional Corporation, the Secretary will establish it. If a 13th Region is not established, the out-of-state Natives will then be enrolled to one of the twelve Alaskan regions according to where they, their parents, or their ancestors were born.
ALASKA NATIVE FUND
Of great importance to the regional and village corporations is the distribution of the Alaska Native Fund. $462,500,000 will be appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury and distributed over an 11-year period.
$12,500,000 during the 1st year
$50,000,000 during the 2nd fiscal year
$70,000,000 during each of 3rd, 4th, & 5th fiscal years
$40,000,000 during the 6th fiscal year
$30,000,000 during each of the next 5 fiscal years
Authorized money not appropriated within six months after the beginning of the fiscal year will earn 4 percent yearly interest until it is appropriated. In addition to the Federal increments, $500,000,000 will be credited to the fund by the State on a revenue sharing basis. This money will be derived from a two percent royalty on rentals and bonuses from leases of land or sales of minerals under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and certain other mineral leases in the State of Alaska.
One of the few prohibitions in the Act is the stricture that Alaska Native Funds may not be used for political campaigns or propaganda on behalf of any candidate for public office.
When the roll is completed a quarterly distribution of all money in the fund, except for the amount reserved for attorneys fees incurred prior to passage of the Settlement Act will be made to the Regional Corporations. Such distribution will be based upon the ratio of Natives enrolled in each region to the total enrollment.
MINIMUM FUND DISTRIBUTION
During the five years following enactment:
Not less than 10 percent of all funds received by the 12 Regional Corporations must be distributed among the stockholders.
Not less than 45 percent of all funds must be distributed among the village corporations and to the stockholders who are not residents of these villages.
If a 13th Regional Corporation is organized, not less than 50 percent of the funds received by the corporation from the Alaska Native Fund must be distributed to the stockholders.
Following the five year period not less than 50 percent of all funds will go to the village corporations and non-resident stockholders.
Additionally, the regional corporations will have timber and subsurface rights on Native selected lands. Seventy percent of all revenues received from timber resources and subsurface estate must be divided annually among the 12 regional corporations according to the number of Natives enrolled in each region. Leasing arrangements with companies interested in exploring and developing mineral and timber resources are being considered by some Native groups and corporations at this time.
In establishing the 12 regional corporations, an interim board of directors was selected by each region for the purposes of incorporation and management.
The initial incorporation was completed by June 30, 1972, and each was advanced up to $500,000 from the Alaska Native Fund for organizational purposes. The balance, $6,500,000 was invested by BIA Financial Management and is drawing interest. It will be available to the corporations when they are fully organized with a board of directors and stockholders.
After the Secretary signs the roll on December 18, 1973, the regional corporations will:
(1) Identify their stockholders
(2) Issue shares to stockholders
(3) Elect a board of directors
(4) Receive their share of the Alaska Native Fund
(5) Make investments
Many of these events will be occurring simultaneously.
Two or more of the regions may merge if a request was made, or the intention to do so was announced, within one year from enactment, provided the number of regions is not reduced to less than seven. Two regions have notified the Secretary that they are considering a merger, but a definite decision has not been made.
Natives who are not permanent residents of Alaska may, if they choose, organize a 13th regional corporation. It will receive a share of the $962,500,000 cash settlement but will not receive land and will not benefit from mineral or timber revenues shared by the other regional corporations.
The 12 regional corporations have been formed as businesses for profit and their Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws have been approved by the Secretary. Amendments to the articles may not be made during the first five years without Secretarial approval. As was the intent of the Act, each region has all the powers of any other Alaska business corporation responsible for the organization and operation of the corporation.
Upon completion of enrollment, each regional corporation will identify its stockholders and distribute shares of stock to each, giving them the right to vote in corporation elections and to receive dividends. These stocks may not be sold or transferred for a period of 20 years, except in probate or upon court decree in the cases of separation, divorce, or child support.
A duly elected board of directors will be charged with responsibility for the management of the regional and the investment of corporate assets. Such investments might include stocks and bonds and business enterprises in construction, tourism and service industries.
Every region, village and group will have its own corporate body, directors, staff, lands, cash and financial resources to manage. This is an overwhelming task, particularly considering the lack of previous experience of most Alaska Natives, their remoteness from financial and business centers and their limited manpower. To compound these problems we may be confronted with another momentous event, the Alaska Pipeline construction and related petroleum development. It has been estimated that 4,000 jobs will result from the land claims and the pipeline construction. These jobs should and can be filled by Natives provided immediate training is extended to them.
Significantly, the skilled person now employed will be hired first on these higher paying jobs. The unemployed and untrained will then be the labor pool from which others may draw. Almost every program, State and Federal, will feel the impact of this fluid labor force.
To help meet the immediate needs of the Native people, the Bureau has participated in developing, organizing and funding a few pilot training courses at the request of various regional corporations. Working with the Anchorage Community College, we have coordinated courses to train surveying technician aids, land use planning specialists and grant writers. In conjunction with Alaska Federation of Natives, the Anchorage Community College presented a course in management for administrators of the regional corporations.
At the Seward Skills Center, the State Department of Vocational Education sponsored a course to provide village management training. Special courses such as how to establish credit unions, and a training internship with the National Park Service to develop outdoor recreation and tourism, have been provided at the request of regional corporations.
Seminars on specific subjects, such as oil and gas leasing and land planning and selection, have been conducted by the Alaska Native Foundation, and other groups, for the regional corporations. While these seminars are beneficial, more formal and intensive training is needed. Other activities of the Foundation include planning and management training in investment and resources development for Native leaders.
Some of the regional corporations have borrowed money to fund training by consultants, staff members and University of Alaska. For example, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is training a land chief from each of eight villages; course work includes geology, cartography and biology.
Although these training programs are a beginning, much remains to be donenot only for land claims jobs but also potential pipeline construction jobs. Urgent needs include training in management techniques, accounting, planning, information dissemination, legal and financial counseling, secretarial.
MAJOR DECISIONS FOR VILLAGE CORPORATIONS
In order to be eligible to select land or receive benefits, Native villages must incorporate in a manner similar to the regional corporations, except that they have a choice of becoming profit or non-profit corporations. This decision can be made only after careful review of how the corporation intends to operate. If it is to be non-profit, it is tax-exempt and may apply for grants and matching monies from private foundations and government sources, but it cannot pay dividends to its members. Whereas, a profit-making corporation can disburse dividends, must pay taxes on profits, and ordinarily, it may not apply for matching funds.
The trend, thus far, appears to favor profit corporations; however, there are still many villages that have not incorporated, and this must be done by December 18, 1973. The regionals are responsible for advising and assisting Native villages to form either profit or non-profit corporations. Amendments to the articles of incorporation and the annual budgets will be subject to review and approval by regional corporations for a period of five years.
The regionals will also assist villages in selecting land and developing an investment plan. Funds which are to be distributed to a village corporation may be withheld by the regional corporation if the village does not submit a satisfactory plan. Any disagreements will be arbitrated. Additionally, a village plan for joint ventures or financing with other villages may be required. The amount of money distributed to a village corporation from the Alaska Native Fund is made in direct proportion to its stockholders.
The village corporation responsibilities are closely related to those of the regionals, but, additionally, the villages must go through the complicated process of insuring that land titles within the village township are conveyed to:
(1) Individual Natives for their primary place of residence, primary place of business, etc.
(2) Non-profit organizations such as churches an d community groups
(3) Municipal corporations, public use rights-of-way, and other community needs
(4) Existing airport sites with related navigational aids, easements and approaches.
FOUR BASIC LAND GRANTS
The land settlement will total 40 million acres, or more, depending on the actions taken by the former reserves. Title to the land will be divided between the 12 regionals and approximately 250 village corporations, with all subsurface rights going to the regional corporations.
The Act provides for four basic types of land conveyance to Natives: (1) Village corporation land grants; (2) Regional corporation land grants; (3) Hardship cases, and (4) Reserve grants.
VILLAGE LAND GRANTS
Up to 22 million acres of land is available for selection of surface estate by eligible Native villages. The amount for each village is determined by the Native population of that particular village on April 1, 1970.
Where possible 25 townships around each village have been withdrawn by the Secretary. >From these townships, the village will make its selection. This selection must include townships in which any part of the village is located.
In many cases, however, the ocean, navigable rivers, and large inland bodies of water can restrict selection.
The Act also sets up further restrictions on selections which include:
(1) A limit of three townships on State selected lands not yet patented.
(2) A limit of three townships on Federal lands including National Wildlife refuges, Naval petroleum reserves, National Parks, National Forests
(3) Valid prior existing rights to private land, mining claims, etc.
When these circumstances or restrictions occur, villages must then make alternate selections from "deficiency areas." This may create a problem since the deficiency withdrawals must be three times the amount of the size needed for selection, and there just is not that much land available.
The close proximity of some villages is another problem. As one regional corporation leader pointed out, "Some of our villages are as close as one or two miles apart. In some areas, villages are located in the same core township."
The population may not be sufficient to warrant selection of the entire 22 million acres. So the remaining acreage will be distributed to the regional corporations on the basis of their share of the total Native population. The regional corporations, in turn, are responsible for reallocating this acreage among its villages on the basis of historic use, subsistence, and population.
REGIONAL LAND GRANTS
Approximately 40 million acres of subsurface rights will be given regional corporations. This includes the 22 million selected by the villages and approximately 2 million acres of "hardship lands."
Eleven of the regional corporations will select an additional 16 million acres including both surface and subsurface estate. SEALASKA, the Southeast regional, is excluded because of a prior settlement of its claims.
Regional corporations are more restricted than village corporations -in selecting their 16 million acres. They may, for instance, select only what have come to be known as "checkerboard lands" in the village withdrawal areas, i.e., every other township. Therefore, regional corporations cannot select compact units of land within the village withdrawal. If a regional corporation is entitled to more land than is available in these village withdrawal areas, a regional deficiency is created similar to that discussed above in relation to village deficiencies.
If a Native village is located in a National Wildlife Refuge or Chugach National Forest, for example, and selects three townships of surface estate within the refuge or forest, the regional corporation will have to select its subsurface entitlement from the 25 townships surrounding other native villages in the region, or from "in lieu" withdrawal areas. Only vacant unappropriated or unreserved public lands may be withdrawn for "in lieu" selections.
HARDSHIP LAND GRANTS
Approximately 2 million acres have been withdrawn for so-called hardship land grants which will be distributed to:
(1) Regional corporations for existing cemetery and historical sites
(2) Native groups too small to qualify as villages (less than. 25 Natives) surface title of not more than 320 acres per member of 7,680 acres, whichever is less.
(3) Individual Native who applies for a primary place of residence outside village withdrawal areas, or individual Native allotments surface title of not more than 160 acres each.
(4) Natives in Sitka, Kenai, Juneau, and Kodiak surface title of not to exceed 23,040 acres. These were originally Native villages but are now predominantly non-Native.
Application for specific lands must be made by December 18, 1975. The regulations stipulate that:
(1) 500,000 acres will be allocated for cemeteries and historical sites, Native groups not qualifying as Native villages, and for primary places of residence.
(2) 92,160 acres will be set aside for possible allocation to each of the corporations formed by Sitka, Kenai, Juneau and Kodiak.
(3) 400,000 acres have been set aside to satisfy Native land allotments, approved prior to December 18, 1975.
(4) The balance of the two million acres will be reallocated among the regional corporations on a population basis.
One of the problems involved in the "hardship" land grants is that various regionals have placed different priorities on the four components of this selection. Some regional corporation leaders have said that the individual allotments should not be deducted from land claims at all but later could he taken out of public domain. However, other regionals feel that granting the individual allotments is top priority.
Native individuals are confused concerning the option they were asked to make between "primary place of residence" and individual allotments. We are now contacting applicants to clarify the meaning of the option so they will not be unfairly deprived of lands which they are claiming.
RESERVE LAND GRANTS
The Act had the effect of revoking all reserves and reservations (with the exception of Annette Islands); however, Native villages within the former reserves have the option, on or before December 18, 1973, to decide (1) to take fee simple title to the reserve lands, surface and subsurface, and not participate in the Act, or (2) participate as any Native village does in the provisions of the Act and give up the boundaries of their former reserve.
The major reserves were Chandalar-Venetie, Elim, Tetlin and Klukwan. There are approximately 23 villages located on these and other small reserves which must choose between retaining their lands or participating in the Act.
The following chart slows the choices that the former reserves will have to make.
FEE SIMPLE TITLE
Of concern is the case of non-residents who have enrolled to a village on a reserve. They believe they have enrolled for land claims benefits. However, if the majority elect to retain reserve status, will these non-residents receive benefits?
BIA LAND GRANT DELEGATIONS
The Juneau Area Director has been delegated authority to review, determine, and certify:
(1) All villages which are listed or not listed in the Act for land and benefits
(2) Existing cemetery sites and historical places.
(3) The eligibility of certain Native groups and Natives residing in Sitka, Juneau, Kenai and Kodiak for lands and benefits.
(4) Primary places of residence for certain individual Natives.
(5) The eligibility of Natives applying for individual land allotments.
These delegations are largely the responsibility of the Realty Division and to carry out these delegations, an increase in staff is required. Although money and ceiling are available, we are having considerable difficulty in recruiting staff, and the agencies still are not fully staffed. A PERT/TIME system is being developed similar to our enrollment system to insure that priorities are set and a timeframe established with periodic reports to indicate rate of progress.
The status of each of the delegations is that:
I. 170 villages listed in the Act have been determined to be eligible to select lands based on enrollment data. The regions were notified and asked to review and comment on these villages. If there is no controversy or appeals, a listing will be published in seven Alaska newspapers and the Federal Register in late July. Further information is needed on at least 45 other listed villages before they can be certified. According to enrollment statistics, there are at least 33 unlisted villages which may be eligible if a formal application is filed with the Area Director by September 1, 1973.
Procedures to determine eligibility of listed villages include:
(1) Investigation of records
(2) Publication of Notice of Proposed Decisions in Federal Register, copies to seven newspapers, each region and village and State of Alaska.
(3) Proposed decisions subject to protest within 30 days by any interested party.
(4) Director's final decision on protest within 30 days after receipt.
(5) Publication of final decisions by Director in Federal Register. Copies of final decisions and certificates of village eligibility will be mailed to affected villages, regional corporations and the State of Alaska.
(6) Final appeals to Secretary through ad hoc board.
(7) Ac hoc board decision submitted to Secretary for personal approval.
The procedures for determining eligibility of unlisted villages is equally complicated.
II. We have sent maps to the regionals asking them to mark and identify areas they wish to have set aside for historical and cemetery sites. As yet, we have not received any responses. We estimate the probabl[e] number of sites will be 5600.
III. We estimate there will be about 48 Native groups, each eligible to file applications to select not more than 7,680 acres. Before applying for certification the group, which may consist of 4 to 24 people, must incorporate and select lands with the concurrence of the regional corporation. Thus far, we have received no requests or applications.
IV. For the past year, the Kenai Native Association has operated Wildwood, a former Air Force Station, located on land that the Secretary of the Interior recently withdrew from the Department of Army for reclassification. It consists of 4,280 acres which the Natives of Kenai, who have incorporated, wish to select. Natives residing in the three cities of Sitka, Juneau, and Kodiak have not incorporated; they have until 1975 to complete this process.
V. Five hundred sixty-seven Native persons signed an option form indicating they wish to change their application from an allotment to a primary place of residence. Many people did not understand the option; therefore, each of these applicants must be contacted to ascertain what they really want. If they opt for primary place of residence, which may not exceed 160 acres, it cannot be within the boundaries of the village withdrawal, and must have concurrence of the regional corporation. However, the person who opts for the primary place of residence and receives it will have fee simple title to the land, plus land claims benefits.
VI. The Native allotment authority provided by the Allotment Act of 1906 was revoked by the Land Claims Act. According to this Allotment Act, a Native person could apply for and receive up to 160 acres of land with a restricted title. These allotments take precedence over village and regional selections. We have certified 7,700 applications for allotments to Bureau of Land Management and then plan to adjudicate 2,000 of these during the 1974 fiscal year. A fairly high incidence of return and error is expected due to the fact that a crash program was required to process more than 5,000 applications which inundated our office prior to passage of the Settlement Act. Since Juneau Area was understaffed, we could not accomplish this task within the time required. Therefore, a task force of realty specialists from many areas in the United States was organized and worked in Sacramento for two months during 1972.
FEDERAL-STATE LAND USE PLANNING COMMISSION
A Joint Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission has been established to assist State and Federal officials and other interested groups, particularly Alaska Natives, in land selection and management. This is a 10-member committee which includes five members appointed by the Governor, one must be a Native; one a member appointed by the President with consent of the Senate, and four appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.
This Commission has no enforcement powers; its functions are to advise, coordinate and make recommendations with regard to land use selection and planning. It shall cease to exist December 31, 1976.
A sub-group, the Resources Planning Team, working in conjunction with the Planning Commission, is composed of 26 or so professional employees from various Federal and State agencies. A BIA staff member, Art Patterson, has been working full-time for over a year with this group in Anchorage.
The Secretary of the Interior was directed to withdraw not to exceed 80 million acres of unreserved public lands which may he suitable for addition to or creation of National Parks, National Forests, Wild and Scenic River Systems and for Wildlife Refuges. The Planning Commission is studying these lands, holding extensive public hearings, and will present a draft of its recommendations for use of the lands, commonly called D-2, to the Secretary by August l. During the hearings a wide range of recommendations were received. News reports indicate that almost all witnesses agreed on one thing that the subsistence rights of the Alaska Native be preserved and protected.
Legislative history of the Act indicates that Congress recognized that the aboriginal claims of the Native people, for continued use of lands to which they will not receive title, are legitimate. Congress stated that it "expects both the Secretary and the State to take any action necessary to protect the subsistence needs of the Natives."
Recommendations for use of the D-2 lands will be made by the Secretary to Congress. These lands, so recommended, will remain withdrawn until Congress acts, but not longer than five years from the date of recommendation.
D-2 lands not recommended for use within two years will be made available for selection.
SECTION 2(C) PROGRAM STUDY
The Section 2(C) Program Study required by the Act is extremely important to the Native people and the State of Alaska. It should be emphasized that the entire $962.5 million would be exhausted in 9 or 10 years if the Claims money is spent for social services, vocational training, education and health programs now provided by Federal agencies. Moreover, it should be recognized that the Act was not intended to be a welfare measure, but rather a settlement based upon property rights. This section of the Act states "the Secretary is authorized and directed, together with other appropriate agencies of the United States government, to make a study of all Federal programs primarily designed to benefit Native people and to report back to Congress with his recommendations for the future management and operation of these programs within three years of the date of enactment of this Act."
We have raised some questions for consideration in making the study which I will summarize briefly:
1. What Federal agencies and programs are to be studied? What constitutes "a program primarily designed to benefit Native people?"
2. Who will be involved and to what extent? Will Native groups and State agencies participate? Will there be a procedure for hearings?
3. How will it be funded?
4. When will it start? Can a comprehensive, adequate, unbiased study be accomplished within the time remaining, now less than 17 months?
5. Where will it be based?
With these questions in mind, I would like to suggest that the study be contracted to a private entity to:
1. Insure objectivity
2. Set up a plan to include scope, objectives, procedure, time frames, etc.
3. Survey programs and services through interviews with State and-Federal agencies, regional corporations, and Native communities.
4. Take an in-depth look at the Act and its impact to see what needs will be created within the Native community; next review existing programs for relevancy; then determine where changes are required and make recommendations to this effect.
5. Provide for Native review before final recommendations are made to Congress.
The Act states the study must be completed by December 1974. An extension of time may be necessary to accomplish and complete this task. If a thorough, creditable review and evaluation of existing programs and recommendations for future management and operations of these programs are made, time is far too short.
Almost on a daily basis questions of policy arise which remain unanswered. Some of these are:
1. What is the status of the regional corporations in relation to what the Bureau considered "tribal" governments such as those organized under IRA?
2. Can regional corporations set up a non-profit arm, organized under IRA to satisfy tribal government requirements?
3. Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that the Secretary set up an ad hoc board of appeals. What will be BIA's role in-regard to the ad hoc board and protests concerning our decisions on eligibility or ineligibility, will realty personnel be required to furnish data to the board? Will they be required to appear personally and give testimony at the hearings? Our first Notice of Proposed Decisions was published in the Federal Register on July 19. We would like our role defined in order to be prepared to carry out BIA's responsibilities.
4. It seems imminent that certification of eligible enrollees for some villages will not be completed until a short time before the Secretary approves the final roll on December 18, 1973.
Anticipating that we will not know whether certain villages will be eligible in time to comply with the regulations covering protests on village eligibility and actions on protests, we have requested the Regional Solicitor to recommend that the Secretary waive these regulations where time is prohibitive.
With this waiver, we can omit issuing a proposed decision and issue only a final decision on eligibility of these villages and allow for filing protests later.
5. The Act states "no provision of this Act shall be construed to terminate or otherwise curtail activities of EDA or other Federal agencies conducting loan or loan and grant programs in Alaska." What about BIA loans? Indian Business Development Fund grants? Why was it not interpreted that this Act shall include existing or future IHS and BIA programs "as long as such lands remain in ownership of Native villages or regional corporations"?
6. From the above, it appears to be the obvious intent, if not the stated intent of Congress, to terminate, maybe gradually, Indian services presently afforded the Natives by IHS and BIA? If not, why is the Act silent about this and not about EDA or other Federal agencies conducting grant or grant and loan programs in Alaska? This includes Farmers Home Administration, NOAA (fish-boat loans), FHA, SBA, etc.
7. What about the Native water rights under the Act? This is a resource seldom mentioned and certainly one of growing importance. Has the BIA Indian Water Rights section ever taken a look at this subject as it currently and in the future may relate to Native Alaskans? The Statehood Act gives control of water on tide flats and navigable streams to the State; what impact may this have on Native water and other resources?
In conclusion, I would like to summarize by making these points about the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and BIA involvement:
1. The Act represents a compromise in contemporary thought and the political process between the Native leadership, expert legal counsel at both the State and Federal level, the Congress, and the President. The resulting legislation represents a modern and different version of the traditional Indian claims settlement with many, many ramifications not yet fully accessed.
2. While the Bureau of Indian Affairs has certain responsibilities related to implementing the Act, such as enrollment and realty delegations, we have had little involvement in the legislative process and administrative determinations.
Other Federal agencies have been designated responsibilities for future programs in the Act; however, the Bureau is not mentioned as an instrument of service to Alaska Natives, nor is the Indian Health Service recognized. Is the policy intent of the Act to phase out the Bureau, and if so, who will take over education, welfare, employment assistance and other programs, and how will they be funded? The regional and village corporations cannot he expected to handle these programs with their own funds as the Act states the monies and lands will be used for profit purposes, not for social welfare programs.
3. Better communications between participating organizations is essential. We must keep generally and currently informed as to the complex provisions and changing interpretations, regulations and procedures of the many facets of the Act. As subsequent progress and problems occur, or are recognized, Native leaders and BIA staff need to be informed. In turn, .we should provide information to people at the village level in their own language. Additionally, the villages need technical information and assistance to help them find answers to their many questions regarding the benefits and alternatives available to them under the Land Claims.
Our Bureau at all levels Agency, Area, and Washington should have better liaison between Bureau of Land Management and other Federal, State and local agencies who have responsibilities related to the Claims Act. At the same time, effective working relations and coordination should be maintained with leaders of the regional corporations, the Native associations, AFN and the Alaska Native Foundation.
4. Planning new BIA programs or redirecting existing ones should be related to the impact of the Settlement Act and the development of the pipeline will have on the future needs, problems, and opportunities open to Native people at the village, regional and state levels.
To date major program emphasis has been on human resource development education, social services, adult vocational training and job placement. As a result of the Claims Settlement, Alaska Natives now have the two basic requirements for resources development which have largely been missing heretofore, i.e., lands and money, or equity capital.
The future benefits of the land and cash settlement will be largely determined within the next five years. What is BIA's role in providing assistance during this critical period? Shall it be "business as usual" or should we redirect staff and funds more in line with current Native needs?
The Native corporations, both regional and village, will need a great deal of technical information, aid and training which the Bureau should be capable of delivering. Planning assistance to develop efficient organizations and effective programs, with consideration given to human and physical resources, are needed. Comprehensive village and regional plans for economic development are a necessity if the Land Claims Act is to have lasting and meaningful results.