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UNIT FIVE: Future Issues and Options

Unit Overview

Unit Five in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Instructional Series is structured around the issues which must be resolved by 1991. The unit presents a set of five alternative options or solutions. It also introduces a set of criteria to act as a framework for evaluating decisions.

just as the issues which precipitated ANCSA were crucial to its initial understanding, the 1991 issues are critical to a more in-depth comprehension. Students should be able to identify the issues and possible solutions. A major instructional emphasis should be assisting students to assess alternatives against valid criteria.

Unit Goals

Upon completion of this unit the student will:

  1. Be able to identify the 1991 issues.
  2. Be able to identify and evaluate alternative solutions.
  3. Be able to choose one of the options presented in the program that addresses the 1991 issues the student deems most critical.
  4. Define terms introduced in the lesson. (Optional)

Video Program Summary

The last program in the video series, Future Issues and Options, focuses on problems resulting from ANCSA and five possible solutions.

Through the Act, Congress tried to give Alaskan Natives control of their land and their way of life. Additionally, the viewer finds that ANCSA has created a whole new set of problems for Natives. Many of the village and regional corporations face failure or takeovers by large, unfriendly corporations. With the loss of control over their corporations, Natives would lose control over their land. The program also presents the problem of New Natives. How will the benefits of ANCSA be extended to Natives born after 1971? It's estimated that by 1991 there will be more New Natives than Natives included in the Act.

To solve these problems, the program presents five different options. The first would be to extend the protections that Native corporations already have past 1991. This would protect their undeveloped land from taxation and keep their corporate shares from being sold or traded past 1991.

Another option would have the corporations transfer selected pieces of land to their shareholders. They could also transfer portions of their undeveloped land to a land bank. Another way to keep the land in Native control would be to transfer it from the corporations to another Native entity, such as a membership organization or a tribal government.

The final option presented would be to make the Native corporations difficult or unattractive to a takeover by another corporation. This would involve changing the Native corporations' by-laws.

One thing that could work against some of these options is dissenters' rights. These rights protect the interests of shareholders who disagree with how their corporation is being run. Dissenters' rights gives them the option of selling their shares back to the corporation at current market value. But, if enough shareholders take advantage of dissenters' rights, they could bankrupt the Native corporations.

All of the options presented have their advantages and disadvantages, but if Natives can use one or a combination of them, the chances are much better that ANCSA will do what it was intended to do: to let Alaskan Natives have greater self-determination and control their own future.