The United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 as a means of compensating Alaska Natives for the loss of lands after a long-standing dispute over ownership. The Settlement Act passed titles of land to Alaska Natives and formed 13 regional for-profit corporations, 12 regional nonprofit social service corporations, and over 200 village corporations. Legislation provided a land settlement totaling 44 million acres and a cash settlement of $962.5 million to be divided among the
13 regional corporations. Individuals became shareholders of local village and nonprofit corporations as well as the regional corporation. As a result, village corporations owned the surface rights of the land while regional corporations owned the subsurface rights.
The Aleut Corporation was established in 1972 under the terms of ANCSA as the regional corporation for the Aleut homeland in a settlement of $19.5 million. The corporation was entitled to 66,000 acres of surface lands and 1.572 million acres of subsurface estate. Voting shares of stock were issued to 3249 shareholders. The Aleut Corporation oversees 12 local village corporations designed to enhance housing, education, and health of its members. The monetary settlement greatly impacted Aleut economic development and social services because there is little land-based resource potential, while the land settlement meant regaining rights to ancestral lands.
Most of the Aleut Corporation's land entitlements are located between Port Moller on the Alaska Peninsula and the western tip of Atka Island in the central Aleutians, as well as on the Shumagin and Pribilof Islands. The corporation owns the village site on Attu Island and numerous historical and burial sites. No known oil or natural gas is present underneath the islands, and no timber on the tundra, and only limited gold or other mining prospects. Instead, the Aleut Corporation is a multi-industry conglomerate that manages and sells sand, gravel, and rock aggregates as part of its subsurface rights within the region. With the initial capital from the ANCSA settlement, the company made a number of investments in commercial real estate, government operations and maintenance contracts, construction, aggregate sales, and oil- and gas-producing properties in and out of Alaska. Subsidiaries of the corporation include the Aleut Enterprise Corporation, Akima Corporation, Ki LLC, SMI International Corporation, TekStar Incorporated, Alaska Trust Company, and Aleut Real Estate LLC.
The goals of the Aleut Corporation include improving the economic and social lives of Aleut people through successful business ventures, providing significant dividends and benefits to its shareholders, and preserving Aleut culture. The corporation also funds The Aleut Foundation (TAF), a private nonprofit foundation formed in 1987 to support the economic and social needs of its enrollees and their descendants by offering scholarship, job referral, and cultural preservation programs that promote socioeconomic stability and cultural awareness.
ANCSA launched Aleuts onto the global stage as corporate managers of regional and national companies, but the local impact was less significant because, while individual shareholders may receive a return on the economic success of the Aleut Corporation, Aleut villages remain dominated by family-based fishing economies. A board of directors consisting of a president, vice president, chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary-treasurer, and four directors govern the corporation. The board appoints a CEO (chief executive officer) to conduct corporate business.
See also Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA); Aleut, Aleutian Islands; Aleutian/Pri-bilof Islands Association; Aleut International Association
Berger, Thomas, Village Journey, New York: Hill & Wang, 1985
Case, David S., Alaska Natives and American Laws, Fairbanks:
University of Alaska Press, 1984 Flanders, Nicholas, "The Alaska Native Corporation as conglomerate: the problem of profitability." Human Organization, 48(4) (1989): 299-312 Jones, Dorothy, Aleuts in Transition: A Comparison of Two
Villages, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976 Lantis, Margaret, "Aleut." In Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 5, edited by D. Damas, Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984 Laughlin, William S., Aleuts: Survivors of the Bering Land Bridge, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980
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