Why Alaska Natives like me oppose the landless bill

By Wanda Culp
The Juneau Empire
March 7, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) has never addressed Native claims. ANCSA is an industrial-rooted tool of Congress, created to exterminate Indigenous land use and streamline the liquidation of “natural resources” in our ancient ancestral homelands. The word “Native” in the law is a misnomer. In December, Lisa Murkowski’s “Unrecognized Southeast Alaska Native Communities Recognition and Compensation Act” Senate Bill S.1889 (also a misnomer) advanced out of committee. If passed by the U.S. Congress, the bill would remove 115,200 acres of public land from the Tongass National Forest and deed them to five new Native “urban” corporations. According to the Forest Service, nearly every cherry-picked parcel contains old-growth forests, and 52% contains inventoried roadless acres — areas currently protected by the 2001 Roadless Rule. If Murkowski’s bill succeeds the consequences would be catastrophic for all Tongass communities. …Our protective fierceness for this land is an asset that will benefit all Alaskans for generations to come.

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