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 HAROLD G. MIMS, MEMBER OF ALASKA MINERS ASSOCIATION, ANCH. CHAPTER (written)
Mr. Chairman and members of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, my several visits to many of the Native villages in Alaska and with the citizens in the villages, during the last twenty years, without any exceptions, have been enjoyable and pleasant, and have resulted in gaining new friends and a better understanding of their viewpoints and needs. Therefore, I am in favor of what could reasonably be considered a fair and equitable settlement of lands and natural resources for them, from their varied requests.
From the time of the beginning of life of man upon the Earth, and down through the ages, there was provided at the beginning, both upon and within the Earth, plenty for every person’s needs, provided that the production and distribution of natural resources would be wisely and equitably managed with all people in mind, as all time passed on down through the future.
Surely no one generation, or a selected few among different generations of mankind has ever, or will ever have either a proper legal or a moral right to vast holdings of the earth’s surface or its natural resources which would be far beyond its reasonable needs, plus a reasonable amount for each individual to produce for distribution through marketing, for the needs of other consumers.
Some of the proposed land withdrawals in Alaska for each of, and all of the villages, are so great and expansive, that it is clear to any reasonable minded person, that the thinking behind such requests, would indicate that far more than reasonable needs should pass into the possession and ownership of just a few of this State’s citizens, with a clear vision that the same measure could never again be available to any other generation or to individuals.
The proposed restrictions and limitations on minerals exploration and development that will accompany the proposed land withdrawals, if allowed to stand, would be detrimental to the miner and mining industry, and could only result in a damaging loss to all citizens of the State and the Nation.
All of us, as equal citizens, are equally in need of continued metals production, and because vast areas of land have to be available for successful mineral search, it seems unrealistic, that diminished and restricted conditions should be established, which would result in burdensome and discouraging circumstances for those trying to proceed within existing mining laws, and searching for mineralized areas within lands which do not have known potential mineral data. It does seem reasonable that mineral rights within reasonable sized villages, could be made exclusively for its residents, but no exclusive mineral rights for any person or persons should be allowed to extend into vast areas of hunting grounds adjacent to villages. Native people would have equal mineral rights in all other areas, with all other people. The mining laws of Alaska should not be changed or diminished to the disadvantage and discouragement for minerals search. The cost of any future established land restoration should not be borne by the miner alone.
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.