"Slope Natives Nix Present Land Plan"

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, November 21, 1968, p.3

The Arctic Slope Native Association has voted to "completely divorce" itself from proposed legislation to settle the Native land claims.

The action was taken at a meeting Nov. 8, but the resolution signed by Walton Ahmaogak, president of the ASNA, was not received here until today. Copies of the resolution also were sent to Sen. E.L. Bartlett and Ernest Gruening, Stewart Udall, secretary of the interior; Sen.-elect Mike Gravel, Gov. Hickel and Emil Notti, president of Alaska Federation of Natives.

"Be it resolved that the Arctic Slope Native Association, after due consideration, for lack of a better solution, and our continued feeling of being neglected as is reflected in the proposed over-all settlement for Native land claims, does hereby declare itself no party to, and completely divorced from the present legislation proposing an over-all settlement for Native land claims," the resolution said.

There was no indication what the ASNA planned as an alternative to the legislation now pending in Congress.

"It is our firm belief that we own this land and have in fact paid dearly through the shedding of our own lifeblood in hand to hand combat with those that would deny us this land," the Natives said.

It said that ASNA filed a land claim in 1965 against the U.S. government which claimed an area of approximately 95 million acres from the Canadian border in the east, running westerly along the Brooks Range to and including the Native village site of Pt. Hope.

The land, the resolution said, "is the known habitat of the Eskimo people since time immemorial, using the game and natural resources for their livelihood."

The Natives charged the state and federal governments have encroached upon this land without the consent of the Eskimo people on the Arctic slope, "disposing of huge blocks of land to the oil companies and the general public, in fact, taking land away from the Eskimo people."

It contended the present bill before Congress was drawn up "without representation from the Arctic slope, and gives no consideration whatsoever for a just settlement for the claims of the Arctic Slope Native Association."

"Great injustice will be done to the citizens of this great state if the present bill in Congress is permitted to become law without due consideration for a just settlement for the claims of the ASNA," the resolution said.

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