Sealaska Land Bill Endorsed by Nation's Oldest & Largest Native Organization
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has endorsed Sealaska's legislative effort to finalize its land entitlement under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
The resolution—passed unanimously at the 2010 Mid-Year Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota—urges Congress to approve legislation allowing Sealaska to complete its long overdue land entitlement from areas outside the original boundaries drawn by Congress in the 1971 land settlement legislation. In part the resolution states:
"...Sealaska was treated differently than the other Regional Corporations by having its land selections limited to areas within ANCSA withdrawal areas drawn around some, but not all, of the Southeast Alaska villages and many of these selections areas would not allow Sealaska to meet the economic and cultural purposes of ANCSA."
"We're grateful for the support of NCAI President Jefferson Keel and NCAI members," said Sealaska President and CEO Chris E. McNeil, Jr.
"Alaska Natives and American Indian people around the country have been struggling with the same issues: securing at least some of our historic lands for the economic and cultural well-being of our people. We are fighting for a very small portion of the productive and meaningful lands taken from our people. Our lands bill is fundamentally a Native rights issue, and NCAI recognizes that in its current state, ANCSA does not meet its own purposes or those of the Native people of Southeast Alaska,” he said.