Proposed Abstract Title

The Political Geography of Alaska: An Exploration of Alaska Native Tribal Land

Presenter/Author Information

Rita AsgeirssonFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

The Power of Place - Promoting Decolonizing Methodologies in Water Governance in the Salish Sea

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Rural Alaska land management is complex, especially for tribal members who rely on the harvest of traditional fish and game. Within each village, multiple entities are land owners who rule over tribal members, the state of Alaska and its Fish and Wildlife management programs, the Federal government and its rule over fisheries and national refuges, the city government, and Alaska Native Corporations. Excluded are tribal governments, who do not have a land base. With the complexity of land management, the Alaska Native tribal member is marginalized and excluded from land use decisions, just as Washington tribal members were excluded from fishery management prior to the Boldt Decision (1974).

The United States Supreme Court denied Indian Country in Alaska by its rulings in Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States (1955 ) , in addition to the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA), and especially through Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (1998). Of the 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States, 229 tribes originate from Alaska. By exploring modern day Alaska Native land issues, I delineate the relationship of property ownership to the government and describe how complex and calculating Alaska Native land issues are. I parallel Alaska Native fisheries to the Boldt decision and discuss how tribal rights to manage homelands can be won.

ANSCA acknowledged that Alaska Natives had title to their ancestral homelands and an Indian Country designation in Alaska wouyld mean that tribes 1) have a land base formerly denied to them through ANCSA, and 2) have the ability to execute sovereign rule over their land base.

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The Political Geography of Alaska: An Exploration of Alaska Native Tribal Land

2016SSEC

Rural Alaska land management is complex, especially for tribal members who rely on the harvest of traditional fish and game. Within each village, multiple entities are land owners who rule over tribal members, the state of Alaska and its Fish and Wildlife management programs, the Federal government and its rule over fisheries and national refuges, the city government, and Alaska Native Corporations. Excluded are tribal governments, who do not have a land base. With the complexity of land management, the Alaska Native tribal member is marginalized and excluded from land use decisions, just as Washington tribal members were excluded from fishery management prior to the Boldt Decision (1974).

The United States Supreme Court denied Indian Country in Alaska by its rulings in Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States (1955 ) , in addition to the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA), and especially through Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (1998). Of the 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States, 229 tribes originate from Alaska. By exploring modern day Alaska Native land issues, I delineate the relationship of property ownership to the government and describe how complex and calculating Alaska Native land issues are. I parallel Alaska Native fisheries to the Boldt decision and discuss how tribal rights to manage homelands can be won.

ANSCA acknowledged that Alaska Natives had title to their ancestral homelands and an Indian Country designation in Alaska wouyld mean that tribes 1) have a land base formerly denied to them through ANCSA, and 2) have the ability to execute sovereign rule over their land base.