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7.1 Arctic Indians

In 1936 Congress passed the Alaska Native Reorganisation Act extending certain provisions of the Wheeler-Howard Act to the Territory of Alaska. It was designed to assist native peoples in setting up tribal corporations.

In 1965 Alaska Natives created the Alaska Federated natives, a state-wide organization empowered to pursue land claims for native people of Alaska.

Following the discovery of oil on Alaska’s North Slope, the state leased lands to private companies for over one billion dollars in fees. Native Americans organised as the Arctic Slope Native Association claimed that the state selection of 76,000 acres of oil-rich lands in northern Alaska that had been theirs for centuries violated natives’ rights. US Congress passed legislation –the 1971 Alaska Native settlement act- giving native Alaska people 44 million acres of lands and 962 million dollars in compensation for giving up claims to nine-tenths of Alaska. The land was to be divided between 220 native villages and 12 regional corporations created to make business for profits. The corporations were to receive 462.5 million dollars over a 11-year period and an additional 500 millions in mineral royalties. Some Alaskans still contest the agreement which, they say, destroy their traditional lands and lifestyle organized around hunting and fishing.