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.


Since you are going to cut me off, I would like to state that one of the maps is the map showing the heritage that the miners have had in Alaska, and we have earned it by hard work over 100 years, starting right after Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1870.

The other map is the ninth township map around the villages that we are able to locate.

Many of the Alaskans have a heritage here. They should receive the lands that they live on and utilize now. They do have some claim against the Federal Government. They should receive mineral rights to the lands conveyed to them and their settlement should be made as soon as possible. But I fail to see any parameters in these three bills for just land settlement. You canít set parameters until you adjudicate the land claims. To do this requires a lot more homework than has gone into these bills.

The Federal Field Committee thinks in terms of one township per village and they use a BIA-defined village. The Department of Interior is willing to settle for double that. The Natives point to the map of Alaska and they think in terms of their heritage and they would like to get everything they can.

Congress or the Court of Claims should set some guidelines for proof of title. Then we will know that we have a basis for a just land settlement. For example, the people on St. Lawrence Island are probably in much the same position of the people from Nunivak. They can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they use and occupy the whole island, and that is 1,205,000 acres. But take Manley Hot Springs, it is not and never was a Native village.

Suspending the mining laws on vast acreages of land doesnít make good sense. Neither does the production tax. These are not germane to settlement.

Just a week ago a consulting engineer from London called on me and he stated that it seems there are many properties in Alaska that would be mines if they were located somewhere else in the world. I had to agree with him. We miners in Alaska live with the hope that somehow we can turn things around, and, if we donít succeed, they never will be.

You have made a trip through Alaska. You have seen it, and there is not very much on top of it, but there is much gold that has to be in the ground.

One-fifth of our population is Native, but four-fifths is not. This land is always beckoning to the poor, young American with a dream. These are the people who sowed most of the sweat to make Alaska the dynamic part of America that it is today. The heritage of Alaska is not just Native, nor miner, or homesteader or anyone else; it is the heritage of America, of all Americans.

Let the ashes of history lie where they have fallen. The future is what is important and the future belongs to our children. Educate them, teach them the value of work, and the beauty of America.

Thank you.

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.

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