"Arctic Native Brotherhood Makes 38,000 Square Mile Claim"

Tundra Times, December 23, 1966, p.3.


NOME (Special) — A native land claim covering almost the entire Seward Peninsula has been filed by the newly formed Seward Peninsula Native Association, according to John W. Henrickson, attorney for the group.

The 38,000 square mile claim was filed December 12th and embraces some of the richest mineral resources in the world, including deposits of gold, silver, tin, and Beryllium. Millions of dollars in gold have already been removed from the area.

The claim borders the claim of the Northwest Native Association on the north, includes Diomede and King Island, the villages of Shishmaref and Wales on the west, and the villages of Koyuk, on Norton Sound, to the east.

Reportedly about 3,135 natives live within the area of the claim in 12 communities.

The Seward Peninsula claim and the formation of the new Seward Peninsula Native Association follows a growing list of aboriginal claims by native groups.

Hendrickson stated that the claim was: "A claim against the United States basically for taking lands and giving them to other peoples without making any arrangements with the aboriginal owners—in this case the natives of the Seward Peninsula."

The claim reads that the land was never legally alienated and removed from the aboriginal title and for that reason the native people of the Seward Peninsula ask the United States Government to stop alienating land until such time as lawful determination can be made.

The recent convention of native associations in Anchorage, that resulted in the new statewide federation of native associations, recommended legislation that would solve many land problems.

The proposed legislation said in effect that Congress set up a commission to determine the validity of claims, to determine the amount of compensation due the natives claiming the land, and wanted the commission to determine what lands the natives should be entitled to hold for themselves.

Senator Ernest Gruening, who attended the statewide meeting of the associations, will reportedly be handling the legislation on the Washington front.

The Seward Peninsula claim joins such existing claims as the Arctic Slope claim, Northwest Association claim (Kotzebue-Kobuck), middle Yukon claim (Nulatok Galena, Koyukuk valley), Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta claim, Minto claim, Nenana claim, Chalkyitsik claim, Copper River claim, and the Chugach claim (Prince William Sound area).

The officers of the Arctic Native Brotherhood in Nome are temporarily acting as officers of the newly formed association until a charter can be obtained and an election held.

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