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About ANCSA Q: What is ANCSA? A: The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) guaranteed the return of 44 million acres of land to Alaska Natives, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. The act also authorized the creation of regional, urban and village corporations, like Sealaska Corporation, to promote and protect the economic and cultural vitality of Alaska Natives.
Q: What are ANCSA ‘withdrawal areas’? A: The withdrawal areas are nine townships of land that surround the Southeast Alaska Native villages recognized by ANCSA from which Alaska Natives are allowed to select their land entitlement.
Q: Were all ANCSA corporations forced to select lands only from within withdrawal areas? A: Southeast Alaska Native corporations were the only regional native corporations restricted to these kinds of withdrawal areas.
Q: Will Sealaska get more land than it is otherwise entitled to under ANCSA? A: No, Sealaska will not get a single acre more than its fair share in accordance with ANCSA.
Q: What is Sealaska’s ANCSA land entitlement and how many more acres is it due? A: Sealaska is entitled to a total of 375,000 acres of land under ANCSA. To date, Sealaska has received 290,000 acres and the legislation would convey the final 85,000 acres.
Public Access Q: Will the public be able to use the lands transferred to Sealaska through the legislation that were outside the original withdrawal areas? A: Yes. Sealaska’s land legislation guarantees unprecedented public access to our lands in perpetuity.
Q: What does the term ‘unprecedented public access’ mean? A: Sealaska’s out-of-withdrawal economic development land is the only private land throughout Alaska where public access through and to these lands is allowed and protected in legislation. Sustainability Q: Is the land bill good for the Tongass? A: Yes. The land legislation would allow us to select lands that are more suited to fulfill the promise of ANCSA than the lands in the Tongass currently available to us, which include high-value conservation areas, old growth reserves and sensitive watersheds that are important to local communities and our region. Further, Sealaska is the only organization in Southeast Alaska that is replanting the Tongass, with 1.6 million seedlings to date. Economy Q: Is the land legislation good for the economy? A: Yes. The land selections support a sustainable economic model that allows Sealaska to continue with modest timber operations and still lead the way in green energy efforts.
Q: What is the urgency to pass the legislation? A: Southeast Alaska is suffering from some of the highest unemployment in the state; from outmigration in rural villages that threatens schools, property values and village health; and from a predicted decline in population ranging from 34% in Prince of Wales to 14% overall in Southeast Alaska over the next 20 years. Residents in these communities are living at subsistence levels, and they need help—now.