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January 27, 2022



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Voices from the Flats – AFN Day 2. Corporations are Not Tribes!

By Elstun Lauesen

The most interesting meeting on Day 2 of the AFN Conference was on Village Survival! It wasn’t held at AFN. It wasn’t on the official AFN agenda. It was held miles away from the Carlson Center.

It was a government-to-government consultation held with Alaska Tribal Leaders well away from the AFN venue. Mike Williams, Chief of Akiak Yupiit, sobriety advocate and mental health counselor organized the meeting while the Undersecretary for Indian Affairs, Larry Echohawk was in town for AFN. But the nature of the meeting, electric with a sense of urgency, required that the Tribal representatives be free to speak from their hearts, at length, to the single most important bureaucrat in the Obama Administration. It was obvious to me, after 5 minutes in the room with these passionate, eloquent and angry Tribal members, that this is the kind of meeting AFN SHOULD be hosting instead of the perfunctory, head-and-shoulders reporting of bureaucrats that drives large numbers of delegates into retreat to the snack bar, exhibit space or outside on a beautiful day.

The meeting at David Salmon Hall next to the Tanana Chiefs Conference Office building was nothing like the AFN meeting I came from. In this meeting the audience did the talking and the folks on the podium listened. When I walked in, Harold Napoleon was walking through a list of deficiencies inherent in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The date of December 18, 1971 is the demarcation between those who are vested in their corporations and those who are not, creating, in essence a ‘de facto’ termination date for Alaska Natives. He recalled that the prime motive at the beginning of the settlement movement was preserving traditional land use and hunting and fishing rights. Instead, ANCSA became a vehicle for separating Alaska Natives from their lands and imposing new rules and new classes of users on the hunting and fishing. The corporations created under ANCSA were supposed to complement the Tribes and help develop jobs and the economy of the Villages. Instead what has happened, according to Mr. Napoleon, is that the federal government now deals directly with the Corporations, by-passing the Tribes.

Napoleon mentioned, as did several others after him, that a recent ‘government-to-government consultation’ involved ANCSA Corporations, non-profits and excluded the Tribes. When Mike Williams and others tried to attend the consultation, they were ‘kicked out’. This really made my ears perk up.

It turns out that the late Senator Ted Stevens put language in an earmark in the FY 2005 budget that quietly changes the nature of the Cook Inlet Regional Corporation, Arctic Slope regional Corporation and other ANCSA Corporations from being merely corporations to being “Tribes”. Stevens, who was no friend of Tribes in Alaska, nevertheless succeeded in turning ANCSA Corporations into Tribes. That’s right, folks. That oil field executive with the southern accent who runs an ANCSA subsidiary and lunches at the Petroleum Club and donates to Joe Miller works for an Indian Tribe! Ya-Ta-Hey.

Evelyn Thomas, the Chief of Crooked Creek: “We do not have a problem with profit-making corporations, but no where in the rest of the U.S. does a profit-making corporation have government-to-government relationship with the federal government!”

Other speakers from Unalakleet, Pt. Hope, Barrow, Bristol Bay told the same story to an attentive Undersecretary.

One speaker, whose name I didn’t catch, pointed out that his Tribe quit approaching their regional corporation for support like matching funds for grants because they always got the same story: the corporation has a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders and can’t donate money to tribes; if they do it for one, they will have to do it for all.

Now, it seems, that the corporations are really governments.

When I arrived at the David Salmon Hall, I was handed a resolution headed “Alaska Tribal Leaders Summit, Resolution #2. The resolution reads, in part:

“Whereas PL 108-199 SEC 161 and PL 108-447 SEC 518 were enacted by circumventing the normal legislative process in violation to the spirit and intent of Executive Order 13175 which requires the Executive Office of the president and all federal agencies to consult with us before any action is taken which affects our status as Indian Tribes, and;

Whereas, PL 108-99 SEC 161 and PL 108-447 SEC 518 were passed by “earmark” without the benefit of hearings and without the knowledge and consent of the federally recognized Indian Tribes, and

Whereas, Alaska Native corporations are state chartered profit corporations created by federal mandate by the Tribes of Alaska in 1972 pursuant to PL 92-203, and;

Whereas these corporations are not Tribes,  and will never be Tribes, and;

Whereas PL 108-99 SEC 161 and PL 108-447 SEC 518 encroach upon, devalue, and are an assault on our status as federally recognized Tribes and sovereign Indian Nations;

Now therefore be it resolved by the federally recognized tribes of Alaska represented at the 2010 Alaska Federation of Natives convention to denounce the process used to enact these earmarks, their intent, and the affect they have on the status of Alaska’s Tribes, and;

Be it further resolved by the federally recognized Tribes of Alaska to petition the president of the United States to halt implementation of PL 108-99 SEC 161 and PL 108-447 SEC 518 until they have been reviewed for constitutionality as to process, intent and effect.

Reading this Resolution brought two things to mind: (1) No wonder Blackwater and other large contractors embraced the ANCSA Corporations as Prime Contractors. As ‘Tribal governments” they can by-pass the various FAR—federal contracting regulations-requirements that limit access to large federal contracts; (2) No wonder Clair McCaskill (D-Mo) who has been demonized by the corporate-run AFN, wants to investigate the abuse of the 8(a) program by ANCSA Corporations, exactly as this Resolution calls for.

I believe this Resolution will be introduced tomorrow. I will watch the debate. And I will look very closely at the faces of the most notable personalities at AFN to see if there is any sign of shame or embarrassment as they face the Tribal delegates.


Thanks again to Ronn Murray for his excellent photographs of the events at AFN.  Here is his photo album from Day 2!



80 Responses to “Voices from the Flats – AFN Day 2. Corporations are Not Tribes!”
  1. Alaska Native says:

    The trouble here is that in order to understand this complex problem, one needs to get an education not only in Alaska History, but probably an MBA as well. With all due respect @ Sometimes I Always — you can’t see how the tribes are being hurt because you don’t see the full picture. That is the problem.

  2. Sometimes I Always says:

    With respect, I don’t see how the Tribes got hurt here.

    Requiring federal agencies to consult with Native corporations the same way that it is required to consult with Tribes does not turn Native corporations into Tribes.

    For what it’s worth, it looks like the Feds must consult both, not one or the other.

    Also, nothing forbids cooperation between Tribes and Native corporations.

  3. All I Saw says:

    Speaking as a lifelong Alaskan, and a business owner. The reality of shares by qualification (which seems to have a very complex definition for Alaska Natives, in both business and sociological terms) has created a “separate but equal” corporate paradox here. But compounding the complexity of that, is the fact that by-and-large these are very secretive corporations who have chosen lines of business (defense contracts) which necessarily burrow their financial dealings further into the shadows.

    The lack of financial insight makes any kind of free or limited-access market to trade shares impossible. So instead the small and exclusive group of people who do trade “on” the value of the corporations control the value of the assets – the land holdings through the corporations. From what I can tell, they work extremely hard at keeping everyone else in the dark – including Congress when it comes to these federal contracts.

    Does the tribal sovereignty status of the corporations exempt them from outside audit and Congressional oversight into how they manage their federal contract set-aside revenues? If Congress can’t penetrate the corporate veil, how can the average shareholder be expected to do it and correct any misdealings?

    It’s really hard to tell by looking in – from the outside – how that changes the dynamic of corporate management. But it must, and I worry it’s not for shareholder benefit. How is management answerable to shareholders when shares can’t be traded on their market value?

    What a morass.

  4. Alaska Native says:

    It’s time to shut down our corporations. It’s the only way we can stop this monster from growing. Kill the corporations before we no longer have the power to do so.

    If we can’t kill our corporations, then we must find the loop hole that will save our tribes.

    This is a call to action to all of our most intelligent, educated and determined Alaskan Natives to join together — this is a fight for our lives.

  5. dreamgirl says:

    If corporations have the same rights as people, I want a divorce!

    • dreamgirl says:

      And not a Mexican-Divorce… I want a long drawn-out painful divorce… kinda like what the Repukes are already mulching.

      • dreamgirl says:

        I want the horrible divorce. Where’s the money? Every single cent. (come on Lisa Murky, show us your benefactor/donation sheet for Pete’s sake, ….also too your record on who subsidizes your healthcare exactly? US! You and your family get free healthcare , paid by us; every single American who pays taxes…Lisa Murky is a Welfare Senator who can’t wait to stick it to everyone who isn’t her, her party or her back alley lovers, her corporate-master/lobbyists.)

    • jojobo1 says:

      Talk about divorce and big money read this and they were only married 28 days and she got 10,250,000.00.Of course there were other factors involved that attorneys wanted hidden.

      Must have lived together for some time as the young lady is 19 years old now.

  6. Desa Jacobsson says:

    Not so many years ago, signs posted in Alaskan restaurants, beauty shops, theaters and other public places read, No Filiponos, No Dogs, No Natives Allowed. They were in THAT order specifically.

    Elizabeth Peratrovich, an Alaskan Native Woman, championed the passage of the Anti Discrimination Act in 1958. As a result, the signs came down. The last sign taken down was posted by the late Senator C. R. Lewis, Chairman of the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee, in l964 in Tok Junction, Alaska at a pubic meeting held in a local school.

    Alaska Natives know how it feels to be denied access or deprived of something.

    Obviously, the AFN Board, Kookesh, Mallott, Angasan and Kitka forgot this and do not listen to their Elders. For them to deny access to any public candidate, even Joe Miller, is an affront and an insult to the memory of Elizabeth Peratrovich, Nick Gray and others who taught us how to stand up to injustice without losing one’s dignity or resolve. It is a slap in the face to those good and decent people who cared about the civil rights of all Alaskans. And AFN did it for money. For 8-A money. They did it to protect their money. Not the inherent rights of their tribal members. What a trade. Money over rights. And they compounded this with lies about why they “really” cancelled the debate. This is not democracy. It is an outrage.

    AFN might as well have put up a sign that read, No Democrats, No Joe’s, No Objections Allowed.

    Elizabeth Peratrovich must be rolling over in her grave. I will be happy to cast a vote in her memory for Scott McAdams. My neighbor has agreed to cast his vote for McAdams in memory of Nick Gray.

    • Viapops says:

      Desa, Thank you for your comments. Pretty powerful. You tell it like it is.

      Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. MLK

      • Desa Jacobsson says:

        Viapops, AFN and the corporate elite cancelled the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day Celebraton at the Native Heritage Center in favor of Little w hosting a fundraiser for Frank Murkowski. This is a pattern for them. They left their democrat candidate (Fran Ulmer) standing alone, naked and defenseless.

        Since that time, I have refused to go into the Native Heritage Center and any respect I had for them has been diminished significantly.

    • Thank you for that …….no dogs, no natives–in that order…I am heartbroken for the people who had to endure such humiliations ….the creator is looking upon us in disgust……

  7. Viapops says:

    One correction to: “That oil field executive with the southern accent who runs an ANCSA subsidiary and lunches at the Petroleum Club and donates to Joe Miller works for an Indian Tribe!” While I will be voting for McAdams because he is the best choice, the record is clear – Miller has denounced the corrupt ANC sole-source contracts because they circumvent open competition at great expense to taxpayers. Wake up Alaska… Lisa Murkowski’s ties to the Regional Corporate “subsidiaries” runs deep and thick . Her “Alaska Mafia” as they are called in DC are some of the prime architects of the sole source contracts which are frought with corruption. Just one example of her ties:

    Her lawyer attended a meeting to grease the skids for a huge contract for Native firm:

    “In addition to officials from Chenega, Customs and Border Protection, and the TSA, the Oct. 19 meeting, in the office of Jon DeVore, the chief counsel for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), was attended by Kate Williams, a Stevens staff assistant. DeVore, who once worked for an Alaska Native Corporation, is a former Stevens staff member.”

    Several of the senator’s former and current staff members have worked directly for or lobbied on behalf of Alaska Native Corporations. Her deputy staff director on the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked as a legislative analyst for the Bristol Bay Native Corp.

    And some of Stevens’s former aides, also part of the “AK mafia” “including Ronald G. Birch, and Stevens’s wife’s brother, William H. Bittner, belong to Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot, a law firm that the corporations, including Chenega, frequently turn to when they are trying to win contracts, records show. In December, the Los Angeles Times reported on an arrangement in which an Alaska Native Corporation, Arctic Slope, pays $6 million a year to lease space in an office building partially owned by Stevens.”

    And why do you think ANC big shots Mallot and Koosesh, both Democrats, jumped on the podium in her support at her write-in announcement? They have more to lose than the Sealaska Lands Bill that she is still trying to ram down our throats…how ’bout $29 Billion in no-bid contracts? This while the Native corporates “share the wealth” with their individual native shareholders an average of only $615 annually…oh, I forgot they throw in a few used books and scholarships to boot.
    See Robert OHarrow’s excellent investigative report on this in the Washington Post:

    Also, From the Sunlight /Open Secrets Foundation: This is JUST the Sealaska (8a) contracts (doesn’t incluse the others like Nana etc. although you can select for the others:

    The $73, 000 sole-source, dug-out canoe for the Smithsonian was a real eye popper but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the $29 billion no-bids..

    I’m voting for McAdams since I can’t find any skeletons in the closet. Anyone who plans on voting for Lisa, even though they think McAdams can’t win better think thick again.

  8. SBorbridge says:

    Thanks for sharing the information regarding this meeting. I have been concerned over that language in the budget bill that directs agencies to work with ANCSA corporations like they work with tribes. My apologies for not having the accurate language readily available. I strongly believe the Obama Administration can fix this by consulting with ANCSA corporations on actions taken by the federal government that have the potential to impact ANCSA lands, and restrict “consultation” to the ANCSA lands. Also, clarify the federal government does not consult with ANCSA corporations in a government-to-government capacity because the corporation are not tribal governments. It seems more like the ANCSA corporations are stakeholders+, and I don’t mind that status since ANCSA lands were originally tribal lands. So it seems to me tribes still need to be consulted on impacts to ANCSA lands. The kind of recognition of ANCSA corporations through that budget bill language implies sovereignty and weakens the standing of Alaska tribe with the federal government.

  9. Moose Pucky says:

    McAdams is now running huge half-page ads in rural Southeast Alaska–“Son of Southeast”.
    First class campaign in the home stretch.

    If he can do his part like he is, we can sure do our part. Fill in the oval next to McAdams, Scott T.

  10. just sayin' says:

    So glad this is finally being recognized, is it any wonder that Lisa (surrogate Ted) is being so supported by the Native corporations, being on the inside of this scam, enriching the outsiders who have fingers all over the native rights…it is scarey to think they have found and encoded into law, yet another way, to steal the land and culture from indigenous peoples, by pretending they are part of the same…this veil has fallen and must be attended to now, truth must be made apparent and out there in the clear air to expose this… if any real progress is going to made. My heart rejoices with anticipation of what this revelation could result in, let the veils fall, and truth prevail.

  11. Fairbanks_Rick says:

    What a great set of articles. Thanks Elstun!

    Off-topic: I voted Friday at the State Building in Fairbanks. No irregularities that I saw. While I was voting someone came in and complained to the poll workers about Miller and Murkowski signs too close to the building. This person was told that Division of Elections had already notified the property owners and would remove the signs if needed. This must have been on the 8th Ave side of the State Building as I didn’t notice any on the 7th Ave side.

    As I was voting it occurred to me given the way the ballot is physically presented, a small percentage of Lisa’s votes are going to me cast in the wrong place, i,e, there will be a small but potentially significant number of votes for Lisa Murkowski for the House or various state offices. I can’t imagine those will be allowed to be counted as Senate votes.

  12. GoI3ig says:

    Is that Eddie Burke in the background of the Senator Begich photo? Whats a self proclaimed “rascist” doing at the AFN? Maybe he was just dropping by to borrow a dictionary.

  13. leenie17 says:

    I was really struck by the contrast in the above photos of Miller and McAdams (thanks for sharing, Ronn Murray!).

    Miller always seems to have his head bent forward with his shoulders slightly hunched and his arms in front of him, almost as if he is anticipating a confrontation or a physical attack. He also has this furtive, almost guilty, expression on his face, as if he’s afraid someone will catch him doing something wrong and toss him out of the gathering (or perhaps that’s just my projection!). In photos of him from other events, he exudes an agressive posture and expression. In yesterday’s thread, I compared the Senate race to the story of the tortoise (Scott) and the hare (Lisa) with an exploding weasel (Miller) thrown in for good measure…and he does have a weasel-y kind of persona about him (no offense to weasels!)!

    Scott McAdams, on the other hand, always looks relaxed and happy to meet anyone and everyone around him. His shoulders are back, his head is up and there’s a welcoming, pleasant expression (if not an actual smile) on his face all the time. He looks as though he is comfortable and confident in any gathering at any location, and he seems to have a great sense of humor.

    I’m no expert in body language, and a few photos are not a good representation, but I would certainly feel better about placing my trust in someone who presents themselves the way Scott does.

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      He does have a great sense of humor! It’s very much a part of who he is. I love that.

    • Polly says:

      Yes, at the Chamber Luncheon, as he was going around to shake hands (meet) the audience before the debate started, I went over to him and shook his hand, and said, “Just wanted you to know I’m voting for you.” And went on, so not to take up his time. Thought an encouraging word would make him feel good. It made me feel good.

  14. scout says:

    Mr. Elstun Lauesen, thank you for your informative articles. Can you tell me of the wood/jade/nugget medallion Scott is wearing? I’ve not seen one like it before.

  15. Cortez says:

    Thank you for this great insight. I learned more from this about Alaska Natives and their relationship with their corporations and the US Government than I have living here for 35 years. I had often wondered how the corporations keep getting richer, but the villages still use honey buckets, amoung many, many other issues.

  16. Thank you Alaska PI for the website with the document…ANCSA MASK…. on the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council website: Very large doc with links to the 2004 and 2005 Budget Rider changes. I agree……”The corporations are not sovereign tribal governments. This makes the transfers of funds to be unconstitutional farces not based on a political relationship, since corporations are not sovereign governments despite statutes stating that ANCSA corporations are Tribal governments and are entitled to government to government relations. Without sovereignty there is no political relationship. The US Supreme Court is likely to peel off this charade the first time it comes before the court. The Congress will there after quickly make short work of dismantling the overreaching ANCSA corporations. When that occurs the ANCSA corporations will drop their “Native charade and all of the wealth and Alaska resources they have precluded the tribes from accessing will be exposed as in the sole control and ownership of western non-Native corporations.”
    Yes, the social experimentation has been successful in ripping off the Allodial Holders of Original Title. ANCSA is without due process of law: no 30, 60 or 90 NOTICE, there was NO VOTE of the original peoples of Alaska! There was NO TRANSLATION IN our 22 Native Languages so our Elders COULD VOTE to give up their land, their fishing, hunting, political, social, spiritual ways. There was no vote. ACTS of Presidents don’t get voted on by the people. There is no “consideration” like in a contract either. We the peoples have not received one penny of that $962.5 million either. WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTING FOR THAT FUND? I’ve asked for years!

  17. AKjah says:

    Ok now i see better. Was wondering how Lisa got backing by “native corporations”. She could’nt care less about the people. She wants that corporate back door. Could she get any uglier.

  18. skunkcabbage says:

    This is just astounding! And I thought I had a pretty good grasp of ANILCA and all it’s ugly ramifications.

    No wonder Steven’s was such a hit with the Urban Indians (which is what I call those ANC CEO and executives that live it up in the cities but rarely show up in the village. And when they do show up in the village it’s to tell the community what to do rather than listen to what they need.

  19. Lacy Lady says:

    Off subject too, but hope all Iowans see. WHO TV refuses to air this ad . , but can be seen on You tube. This is Senator Grassley (R) who is running againt Roxanne Conlin (D)

  20. cg says:

    “Stevens…succeeded in turning ANCSA Corporations into Tribes.”
    I don’t think this is exactly true, or at least, not as simple as presented here. I’d have to see the Congressional language and subsequent action for myself, in order to believe this.
    Not a small task to research it. Volunteering documentation of this assertion would not only enhance the author’s claim, but it would also serve as a call to action.

    “a recent ‘government-to-government consultation’ involved ANCSA Corporations, non-profits and excluded the Tribes. When Mike Williams and others tried to attend the consultation, they were ‘kicked out’.”
    I can’t even guess what this might refer to. What “consultation”? With whom? When?
    There might be an easily explained misunderstanding here. Was this in the course of conducting business?
    Just because you own stock in Google or General Electric or Microsoft, doesn’t mean you have entre to working business meetings or have any privilege to participate in the course of ordinary business. There is certainly accountable expected. In the failure of expected transparency, there should absolutely be the means to address concerns.
    There IS a definite flavor of secrecy with our ANCSA corporations, which breeds distrust and substantial criticism.

    The Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act also requires the Secretary of the Interior to publish annually a list of the federally recognized tribes in the Federal Register.
    Here’s the 2010 list published. The ANCSA corporations are not on it. If they now have tribal status, do you really believe they would be left off of it? To what end? It would be to their advantage to be on it!

    SUMMARY: This notice publishes the
    current list of 564 tribal entities
    recognized and eligible for funding and
    services from the Bureau of Indian
    Affairs by virtue of their status as Indian
    Published below is a list of federally
    acknowledged tribes in the contiguous
    48 states and in Alaska.
    Amendments to the list include name
    changes and name corrections.
    The listed entities are acknowledged
    to have the immunities and privileges
    available to other federally
    acknowledged Indian tribes by virtue of
    their government-to-government
    relationship with the United States as
    well as the responsibilities, powers,
    limitations and obligations of such

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Read the letter from the CEO from December 2009…

      • cg says:

        Your link takes you to a general page. Lots of newsletters, huge files, 10+ minutes to download on dial-up. I’m looking, but not sure what I’m looking for.
        How about if you link to exactly what you want us to read.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          It is a pdf file you need to open yourself…
          I remember dial-up woes… ugh…
          December 2009 newletter to shareholders

        • Alaska Pi says:

          here’s part of it – from December 2009 shareholder newsletter- from CEO’s letter to shareholders

          “Many federal agencies formulate and
          implement policies that also have implications
          on Native lands and resources owned and
          managed by the Alaska Native corporations
          formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). For that reason,
          Sealaska successfully pursued a legislative fix to ensure that the Executive Order, which as
          drafted applied only to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, applied also to Alaska Native
          corporations. The first legislative provision can be found in Public Law 108-199, Div. H,
          Sec. 161, which directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “consult with
          Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No.
          13175.” Subsequently, Congress further clarified in Public Law 108-477, Div. H, Title VSec. 518, that “all Federal agencies” in addition to the OMB, are required to consult
          with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indians tribes under the Executive

    • Elstun Lauesen says:

      This is precisely the issue. Ted Stevens didn’t care about the prescibed process that you are referring to! This is what the Resolution means when it says that the earmark process demeans and diminishes the status of Tribes and tribal consultation by BY-Passing Secretarial review and hearings and congressional review. The ANCSAs are NOT Tribes, as me title states, but they are being treated as tribes and abuse has occurred because of that…

  21. ks sunflower says:

    Only somewhat OT because this speaks to controversy of corporations as persons issue (sort of). Bear with me, it’s worth it, I think.

    Seems that Rep. Peter DeFazio ( ” . . . nvestigating articles of impeachment against Justice Roberts for perjuring during his Senate hearings, where he said he wouldn’t be a judicial activist, and he wouldn’t overturn precedents.”

    This may go nowhere, but it is indicative, I think, of the rising discontent with the right-wing, pro-corporate activism many feel is emblematic of the Roberts court. Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy join Roberts in favoring corporations over individuals. As in the Citizens United case which has allowed the Chamber of Commerce to dump millions of dollars into the campaigns of Republicans without disclosing where the money is coming from, thereby circumventing political campaign limits, Chief Justice Roberts has led the charge to empower corporations to do pretty much as they damn well please.

    Please read this article to see why Rep, DeFazio is attempting to shed light on the shady manipulations taking place at the Supreme Court under the direction and influence of C.J. Roberts. As I said, DeFazio may be just spitting in the wind insofar as getting Roberts out, but he is at least spearheading a movement that should signal Roberts that people are on to what he is doing and not happy with it.

    Also, too – note that DeFazio’s campaign for re-election in Oregon is being inundated with money from a two-person Republican PAC from New York. How is it any business of two rich Republicans who the voters in an Oregon congressional district elect or re-elect? Yet, they are pouring money in to defeat DeFazio. I, for one, am alarmed that is being allowed. It diminishes local will and undermines the power of local voters

    I hope I am not the only one who sees parallels between what is happening with Tribes vs. Native Corporations and races such as DeFazio’s in Oregon. The principle that corporations are being favored by law over individuals. Not all corporations are bad, of course, but the individual should always matter more.

    • ks sunflower says:

      Oh, and I forgot to add my strong support for the sovereignty of individual Native Tribes. It may seem a stretch, but I view the Tribes as “individuals” in this discussion because they represent the interests of close-knit groups rather the diffuse Native Corporation. If I am over-simplifying, please excuse my ignorance, but I feel that the federal and state governments have more often than not given only lip service to the notion that Native Peoples have independent nation status, and this nudge by the late Senator Stevens towards favoring corporations over tribes is just an extension of this injustice even if he somehow intended the opposite (of which I am not convinced).

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Mr Stevens was in love with the business model of a corporation. He spread them all over our map… in every way and type possible…
        He did not intend the opposite.

        • cg says:

          I’ll agree on that.
          I resent the way that Alaska’s politicians mince around Native issues, use very careful noncommittal language, skirt every frickin’ issue publicly so as not to offend white constituents, and never ever attend AFN or any other Native forum of substance.
          But then in election years, descend like locusts with their Native-specific campaign materials. Hold runny-nosed babies, pass out berry buckets, staff frantically arranging closed-door meetings in between sessions and trying to find tickets to the banquet and Quyana Nights.

          But. Stevens gave voice. He may have acted like the Great White Father, but he wasn’t afraid to put it out there when he felt a commitment. I’ll respect him for that.
          Stevens supported the corporations serving as the means for a platform of village economic stability, service provision and opportunity; a vision that hasn’t been achieved. He definitely promoted that business model.

    • You are absolutely right on…….I believe they do rather mirror one another….I have no faith in our supreme courts’ ability to use wisdom to decide cases….because of the ruling in the Citizens United, seems very flawed. Then to add to that, there is the report of two of the justices (Scalia & Thomas) having a connection to the Koch brothers—-big corporations, again——WHO is to see to us, the people?????

  22. Polly says:

    I’m checking out Scott’s tie collection (after his tie commercial, it has become interesting to me).- He’s wearing one, when Joe is not, during their debate. It’s easy to see that Scott is the man of the people, not outside interests.

    After reading this great article, I not only feel educated on ANCSA, but understand why Lisa received the large donation from the Native corporations. I was befuddled by that.

    Thank you Mr. Lauesen; looking forward to reading the next segment.

  23. tallimat says:

    So auntie’s homespun coffee cups are a hit. She woke me up with a qiuck “good mornin talli”… Then told me to get some more unmarked coffee cups and “a package of marker with colors”.

    Mr. Eauesen, this is another wonderful write up. My aunt read your write up from yesterday and asked about your name, where does it come from? She also said her grandson is friends with you on FB.
    I did print up the piece from yesterday so she can read it and I plan on doin the same with today’s piece. I hope you don’t mind Mr. Eauesen or AKM, it is eaiser for her to read on a paper instead of the computor or iPhone.

    Gotta get. It is another packed day for my aunt. And my husbands flyin up here today! Phew. He is gonna drive us back to Wasilla tomorrow. Phew. My defensive driving skills

    • Elstun Lauesen says:

      Lauesen is Danish. Mom (Shandreau) was Ojibway from Lac du Flambeau, WI. My Sidter and I were adopted into Asacarsarmiut Tribe in Mountain Village, Ak. I have been involved in Village/Tribal community/economic planning/organizing since 1976.

  24. Mo says:

    This is really scary. So our tribes are sneakily being used as a test case for government by corporation. Is there no end to the injustice sufffered by this continent’s first peoples?

    Thank you, EL, for this expose.

    • UgaVic says:

      I have to think that Mr Stevens did not put the wording into the earmark without prompting by those who are in favor of it. I would love to know who championed the cause at the time.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Sealaska Regional Corporation for one…

      • Desa Jacobsson says:

        The ANCSA Corporations, the State of Alaska and AFN colluded with Ted Stevens to have corporations recognized as Tribes in order to squelch the Tribe’s Voices.

        The “champions” of this are the same people you see “running” AFN’s convention. One such “leader” provided testimony to the Alaska Legislatives House Resources Committee hearing on subsistence. He stated for the record that subsistence is a privilege, not a right. This means a privilege can be taken away. A right cannot. People may wonder how the Fed/State management system came to be. Those same people attended the session on managment of subsistence in Alaska. They caved and you see the results today. They went along, didn’t inform anyone and kept quiet later on. They let this happen.

        AFN (the same ones you see here) and corporate leaders are the ones that cancelled the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day Celebration at the Native Heritage Center in order for Little w to sponsor a fundraiser for Frank Murkowski.

        These are the same people who remained silent while Native Women were being murdered, raped and exploited. Their silence during the Della Brown murder was and still is deafening.

        They did, however, reward many of these “leaders” with accolades for “fighting for Native rights.” How sick is that?

        • The native people should be considered first and foremost—regardless of where they are located – native people have been taken advantage of in cruel and awful ways–but they should be treasured and revered for their knowledge…their relationship with the natural world…our native peoples are special repositories of information and should be held in high esteem….we have much to learn from them.

  25. CRFlats says:

    Welcome to the equally complex political and social world of Alaska Natives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. The good guys and bad guys are not so easily defined. It is an over simplification of the highest (and, frankly, insulting) regard to say ANCSA ANCs are the bad guys and federally recognized tribes are the good guys. Reality is so much more complex and inter-woven. Many Alaska Natives are members of both Corporations, both Village and Regional, as well as members of a Federally Recognized Tribes. Many are leaders within all. Many are leaders of the various entities and at odds with one another. That is our increasingly complex life. But the conversation. and ultimately the answer, must come from within.

    But, it is an election year, and we are in the throws of the final few weeks, and all will make far too many over-simplifications. Obfuscation is to be expected.

    Please re-visit this Voice from the Flats from a few months ago.

    Mr. Don Mitchell is a member of the front lines in this complex issue. He no longer works for AFN, after serving as head council for the organization for decades. He left with much drama over the very existence of federally recognized tribes. He didn’t believe they existed in Alaska, and AFN (yes, including those nasty corporations), believed they did. AFN helped champion the legal recognition of the tribes and continues to be an ally. No one has all the answers, but the Native Community, in all its various entities, will be the place to have the discussion.

    • Writing from Alaska says:

      Thank you for pointing out the complexity of this issue. I would also recommend Willie Hensley’s book if anyone is interested in learning more about how the corporate model came to be used in Alaska. It is worth noting that the terrible condition of reservations in the rest of the country is part of what prompted a look at a different model for Alaska tribes.

    • Desa Jacobsson says:

      CRFlats, you’re mistaken. AFN NEVER supported Tribes. Never. They worked hand in hand with Stevens to have corporations recognized as Tribes, thereby silencing the voices of tribal members.

      AFN and the ANCSA Corporations are not Tribal Governments. That would be like K-Mart functioning as the governing body in Anchorage.

      Rights of Tribes and their Members are not complex. They are basic.

      • CRFlats says:

        It does not help the Native Community to turn onto itself. It does help our enemies, and I can assure you, we have many. The 8 (a) program is a good one, and it is good for Natives of Alaska, both Tribes and Corps, and lower 48 Tribes and Hawaiians. Is it perfect? of course not. But I do have to wonder who would best benefit from it’s demise…. It is not about a few who have been enriched. It is not about the taxpayers. I suspect the latest outcry is more about the other 99% of government contracting that goes to Non-Native contractors. I would not doubt if one followed the money trail if it didn’t reach to Ms. McCaskill’s very own state.

        My small village corp has returned over $100,000 in cash to it’s Shareholders, established a permanent fund, an operating fund and endowed a scholarship fund. We have established a dividend policy based on profits and continue to invest in our company, as opposed to distributing all of the returns. We are planning for our grandchildren, as well as those alive today. Our government contracting business is vital for our survival at this time. We have done our job well, and I am proud of our success. We have followed the rules, and as far as I can tell, the only thing we did wrong, was to do well. Pisses people off.

  26. dreamgirl says:

    Thank you Mr. Lauesen for your concern and scrutiny in this matter. We need more people like you.

    Mr. Murray, thank you also too for the photos. My favorites are of McAdams, he is a smile inducer. Just can’t stop smiling every time I see him. (must be the combination of brains and brawn).

    • jimzmum says:

      The photos are very good! I must have missed the news that a debate would happen. Thank you, Mr. Murray. I agree, dreamgirl. Mayor McAdams is a smile inducer. To me, it is knowing he is an intelligent man, an honest man, and one who really wants to help the people of Alaska (and the rest of the country) instead of just lining his pockets.

      • Kilia says:

        I read somewhere on the net ( can’t recall now exactly where) that McAdams is a native himself. Did I read wrong?

        • KJ says:

          I just checked his website and without understanding how it all works, it seems he is. If not I stand corrected.

          The really interesting part is that he has released his donors’ list, and I am there. 😉 Plus so many people from across the US. That is so impressive.

          Go Scott!

        • InJuneau says:

          I believe his wife may be Native, and he’s been adopted by a local (to Sitka) clan, which is often done when one marries a Native and is worthy of being adopted into the culture.

          • Desa Jacobsson says:

            Not only being adopted by a Clan, but a HIGH RANKING Clan. Killer Whale. That’s a biggy.

          • WayUpNorthInAlaska says:

            Scott is non-Native, but he has been adopted into a Tlingít clan. His wife, Romee, is from a couple of Montana tribes and she serves as the tribal recruitment coordinator for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC, the tribal health organization for most of the region). The McAdams children are enrolled with Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

  27. dreamgirl says:

    This is another example of why we all need to be vigilant in watching how government officials, in this case Ted Stevens, sneak in language into resolutions, earmarks etc… which profoundly alter their meaning to most lay-persons/citizens and to our detriment.

    The shennagins in Alaska affect us all. Did the Supreme Court (hard right jerkos) look at Alaska’s example of a corporation morphing into a “tribal being”?

    Good for Clair McCaskill (D-MO) and others who are investigating this travesty. Fight the good fight.

    Also too, what’s up with the naming of ANCSA– American Native Claims Settlement?! Sounds like it should have been named HHYSN— Ha Ha Your Screwed Natives.

    Corporations are not people and we need to change the writing that claims otherwise.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      It’s the ALASKA Native Claims…
      And it has been a wild ride

      There is a lot of unfinished business…

      Not the least of which is that while tribal entities are set up to include all members who can prove their ancestry , Regional for-profits may or may not have dealt with the amendment (1991?) allowing for a second distribution of shares to eligible people born after enactment of ANSCA (mine has not ). Unless the Reg has dealt with this, to be a shareholder in a Regional one is either an original shareholder (rapidly aging population there ) , been gifted stocks, or inherited shares.
      It is my understanding that the 2nd class of shares revert upon death of the shareholder unlike the original shares… but I’m not sure…
      At any rate the Regs are for-profit entities with a speical set of shareholders, unlike other for-profits in America, but they are NOT tribes… nor should they have any of the nation to nation relationship with the fed that these 2 sneaky provisions allow.
      Shame on you Mr Stevens!
      So much you did was pretty good, so much you did stunk.

    • mmboucher says:

      I would think if every one writes to Claire McCaskill in MO. to thank her for investigating this, it might spur her on to do even more.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        If this resolution goes to the President, you can write the White House in support of it.
        The 8(a) thingy is only a piece of it, the larger issues have to do with who has standing to represent Alaska Natives in their nation to nation relationship with the fed…
        The tribes themselves, as is the case everywhere else in this country, or the for-profit corporations …?

        • jojobo1 says:

          I would think the tribes thme selves would be the answer.I think a lot of tribes are for profit also.Gambling Minerals and oil on their land fishing and hunting rights.

  28. Elstun Lauesen says:

    Ron Murray’s Photo Albums from AFN are a treat! Thanks to Mudflats for this gifted photographer!

  29. London Bridges says:

    While this isn’t an open thread, this is an interesting take on the Juan Williams canning:

    • Gimme-a-break, Sarah says:

      very good!

    • CO almost native says:

      Thanks for the link; very insightful article. Although, as a Coloradoan, I take exception to including Ward Churchill’s name in the list. He and his supporters insist he was fired for his infamous speech, but he was found guilty of plagiarizing sections in his essays that he labeled as original, but the other authors came forward and testified that he didn’t ask permission to use their writings.

      Really, really OT…

  30. jimzmum says:

    Thank you, Mr. Lauesen. I have a question. Is there anything those of us who live outside Alaska do to help make this mess better? To whom should we write?

    • Elstun Lauesen says:

      @Jim: That is a good question. I would say at this point, awareness of the issue is important. A great source of information on Tribal Issues (including this one) is here:
      It is VERY important to note that the 8(a) program is working well in Indian Country. And there are well-managed TRIBAL 8(a) companies in Alaska, such as Prince of Wales Tribal Enterprise Consortium or POWTEC. Finally, not all ANCSA 8(a) are bad actors, but NONE of them should be treated as sovereign nations, which is the implication of Senator Stevens’ outrageous manipulation.

      • jimzmum says:

        Thank you! Looks as if I have some reading to do tomorrow afternoon. I will bookmark the sites and keep going back. I am going to hope that you will let us know if letters or telephone calls need to be made.

  31. tewise says:

    I also want to thank you.

  32. Alaska Pi says:

    Thank you Mr Lauesen !
    Have been waiting to hear about this meeting!

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