The following are public statements provided at hearings held in Fairbanks and Anchorage the 17th and 18th of October 1969 prior to the passage of ANCSA. They provide the reader with some of the issues and concerns discussed prior to the passage of ANCSA.

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM L. PAUL (spoken)

I am William Paul. I am residing in Seattle but I have lived over 50 years in the territory and in the State of Alaska. My parents and my grandparents back for 12 generations were inhabitants of the territory and the land we call Alaska.

The thing that came to my attention as I listened to the men testifying today is this. These men that are claiming mining claims and homesteads and other things and executive reservations are all based upon a misconception of the relation of the Indians to the land. The Indian title is the first title. You will find that in several of our Supreme Court reports. The Indian title is the first title, and there can be no public land unless the Indian title has been extinguished and that may only be done by act of Congress or by authorized sale. For this statement you look to Johnson v. McIntosh and it is confirmed.

I think that is about the extent of my testimony.

I want you to remember there is only one title in the beginning, and that is the Indian title. There is no public land until the Indian title is extinguished.

Question: In your statement, did you cover the fact you told me at noon, that Sitka was purchased from the Indians by the Russians? Did you cover this in your statements?

I did mention that. I omitted it, but I can repeat it now. It was purchased by Baranof. The chief of the tribes name was Cochise. The man that testified earlier, Andrew Johnson, is now one of the leaders of that tribe.

The second treaty was also conducted, agreed to, a treaty and the battle of Yakutat, we drove the Russians out of there. They never came back, and yet the courts say that we were conquered. We have never been conquered. The Russians never saw my country, yet we were sold to the United States. However they did not disturb our possessions that we owned. All that the United States bought from Russia was the sovereign power.

 

Source: Alaska Native Land Claims Part II, "Hearings before the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-first Congress First Session on H.R. 13142, H.R. 10193, and H.R. 14212, Bills to Provide for the Settlement of Certain Land Claims of Alaska Natives, and for Other Purposes. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970.


[Alaskool Home]