NATIVE LAND CLAIMS

In 1867, when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia, Alaskan natives' aboriginal land claims were agreed to in principle but never defined. One hundred and four years later, resolution of these claims resulted in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).ANCSA established 12 regional corporations, made up of 214 native villages. Under a self-sufficiency mandate, the corporations received $962.5 million and title to 44 million acres of Alaska to be managed as assets for the benefit of native villagers, who in turn become shareholders in the new corporations. Native corporations were required to select lands in the immediate vicinity of their villages, but, as happened in Kodiak, some of the villages were located within the boundaries of a wildlife refuge. The Kodiak corporations had no choice but to select lands in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge - lands that became known as "in-holdings." On Kodiak, the lands chosen were the natives' traditional hunting and fishing grounds, made up of the best and most productive food sources in the refuge - primary feeding habitats for the brown bear.

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