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History Units
  - Geography
  - Alaska's Cultures
  - Russia's Colony
  - America's Territory
  - Governing Alaska
  - Modern Alaska

Related Stories
  - Things to Know - AK’s Economy (Power Point)
  - Between Worlds
  - Dividing AK, 1867-2000: Changing Land Ownership & Management
  - Trends in Alaska

Field Trips
  - Visit the Alaska State Museum
  - Ride the Alaska Railroad

In the News
  - State pursues ownership of Salcha River
  - Bidders dig deep for rights in NPR-A
  - Volunteer helps Anchorage's growing Hmong population integrate

Teacher's Guide

Regional History
Teacher's Guide
Informational Sheets

1867 (Treaty of Cession)
The U.S. purchases whatever rights Russia has to Alaska. The U.S. waits until 1971 to address the rights of Alaska Native peoples to their lands and waters.

In the Indian Reorganization Act (1934) the federal government reorganized its policies about Native government, shifting from an adversarial relationship to working with tribal governments as partners. It was amended in 1936 to include Alaska Natives in this Act.

St. Lawrence Island Reserve
The St Lawrence Island Reserve was created to protect and promote Siberian Yupik rights to the island. This is one of the largest reserves in Alaska. The tribal government controls access to and use of the island.

Commerce Clause
Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution stipuates that Congress is the sole power to represent federal and state governments in matters of Indian treaties, Indian lands, and Indian rights.

Internment of Aleuts
Following the Japanese attack of Dutch Harbor and the occupation of Attu and Kiska the Aleuts were forcibly and on short notice removed from their communities and interned in Southeast Alaska. When they returned they often found that their communities had been destroyed, vandalized, and/or their property taken as a resut of the U.S. military occupation.

Tetlin is one of the largest former reserves in Alaska. The lives of the Tetlin community in their traditional use areas were greatly altered by the construction of the Alaska-Canadian Highway.

Marshall Trilogy
Three key Supreme Court cases decided during the tenure of Chief Justice John Marshall (1801-1835) that clarified the significance of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and the legal status of the Tribes with the United States government. The three cases which are known as the Marshall Trilogy are Johnson v. McIntosh (1823); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831); and Worcester v. Georgia (1832).

Village Corporations
More than 180 village corporations were created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. They are often undercapitalized and have limited opportunities for economic development. In spite of this many have become successfu economically.

Elim is a 140,000+ acre reserve. They recently (since 2000) obtained a return of former reserve lands that had been taken by a private party without their consent.

Mining Act
The Mining Act of 1872 was crucial in the early formation of Alaska history. It resuted in the establishment of non Native communities in many parts of Alaska. It restricted mining claims to U.S. citizens, or immigrants of good standing (generally interpreted to be 'whites'). Many Asians and almost all Native peoples were excluded from filing valid mining claims.

Molly Hootch
'Molly Hootch' was a lawsuit filed over the lack of local high school educational opportunities in predominately Alaska Native communities. It was eventually settled out of court in the case of Tobeluk vs. Lind. In accordance with the settlement the State eventually constructed and operated over 100 high schools in rural Alaska.

Denali Commission
The Denali Commission, introduced in 1998, is a federal-state partnership which has as it mission improved living conditions in rural Alaska communities.

Organic Act
The Organic Act of 1884 provided for the earliest form of civilian government after the U.S. purchase of Alaska. Prior to that time Alaska was controlled by the military.

Hydaburg was organized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a community and includes several Native groups from the surrounding region. The goal was to have the community serve as a model of a modern American community.

Sadie Brower Neakok
Sadie Brower Neakok was an early magistrate in Barrow. She was one of the first Alaska Natives to hold this position and she established a statewide reputation for sound and fair judgement.

Sheldon Jackson
Sheldon Jackson was a Presbyterian missionary who became the first Commissioner of Education for Alaskan education and who fostered the work of mission groups and the contracting of schools especially with Protestant missions. He was also an ardent opponent of the Russian Orthodox Schools. Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka is named after him.

Tlingit-Haida Settlement
In the 1930s the Tlingit and Haida Tribes began a series of lawsuits in pursuit of Native land claims. Thirty years later in a very narrow decision that bitterly divided the communities a settlement of Tlingit-Haida land claims was accepted by the Tlingit-Haida Central Council.

The Alaska Intertribal Council is a statewide organization of Native governments in Alaska.

Gold Rush
Gold rushes have accounted for the immigration of thousands of nonNatives to Alaska. The rushes have also resuted in the formation of many of Alaska historic and significant communities, e.g., Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome.

Citizenship Act of 1924
Indian citizenship has a long history. Native peoples were born within the boundaries of the United States, but were not automatically citizens. Early in history some treaties with Tribes offered citizenship. Other tribes were not offered citizenship and some tribes declined the offer of citizenship. The Citizenship Act of 1924 was a blanket enrollment of Indians and Alaska Natives as citizens with the provision that it woud not effect tribal property rights.

ANCSA became law in 1971. Several important features of ANCSA had a twenty-year time limit (the so called '1991' features). Among those was the stipuation that shares in the Native Corporations coud become public (no longer restricted to the original Native shareholders). It became clear that these '1991' issues were financially, politically, and cuturally complex. In 1987 Congress, with the support of AFN changed most of these '1991' provisions so that Alaska Native Corporations woud control when and if these changes woud take effect.

Nelson Act
The Nelson Act of 1905 created the dual school system in Alaska education. Non natives woud attend locally controlled schools and Alaska Native students, in communities where schooling for Natives was offered, woud attend federally controlled schools.

Venetie and Arctic Village
Venetie and Arctic Village control the largest reservation in Alaska which is over 1.5 million acres of land. There is only one other reservation in the state, Metlakatla.

Emil Notti
Emil Notti was an early advocate for the formation of a state-wide Alaska Native effort to pursue land claims in the 1960s. He continues to this day to provide leadership for Alaska Natives.

Glacier Bay
A Native seal hunter from Hoonah took a party of whites, including John Muir and S. Hall Young, to what is now called Glacier Bay. As a resut of this experience John Muir and others actively promoted Glacier Bay as an area that the country shoud preserve. Glacier Bay became a National Monument in 1925 and a National Park in 1980. National status has created some tension with Alaska Natives who continue to view Glacier Bay as an area of traditional land and subsistence use.

The ICC has mutiple meanings in Alaska Native history. It coud refer to the Interstate Commerce Clause in which Congress is granted powers to deal with tribal governments. Or, it coud refer to the Indian Claims Court formed by Congress in order to address Indian land claims and treaty rights. Or, it coud also stand for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference which is an international organization that represents the interests of the Inuit, commonly known as the Eskimo.

Howard Rock
Howard Rock was the founder and prominent editor of the Tundra Times, the first state-wide newspaper for Alaska Natives. This talented and extraordinary individual from Point Hope was a key person in the development of a sense of shared interests across Alaska Native tribes and communities. The Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage has named a ballroom in his honor.

Tribal Governments
There are over two hundred federally recognized tribal governments in Alaska. Tribal government powers include the rights to provide for the welfare of the children of the tribe, to pursue contracts with the federal government, to provide services for the tribal members, and to form and administer tribal courts.

The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October, 1966 in Anchorage. AFN was the first, broad, state-wide organization of Alaska Natives. It was a key organization in the pursuit of a state-wide Native land claims settlement. It hosts the largest annual meeting of Alaska Natives, typically in October, of every year .

Katlian was a Tlingit leader from the Sitka region who was a powerfu opponent of Russian claims in the early 19th century. As a resut of his leadership, he prevented both the European, e.g., the Russians, and American, e.g., Boston whalers, from forcing unequal treaties on the Tlingits.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created under President Eisenhower to preserve a large area of Arctic Alaska from long term industrial, environmental damages. However, as oil has become a more valuable commodity in the world, an enormous debate has developed over whether or not to proceed with on-shore oil exploration within a portion of the coastal plain of this area.

Missionary Schools
Most of the early schools in Alaska, particuarly for Alaska Natives, were supported and sponsored by various Christian churches. The first Commissioner of Education for Alaska, Sheldon Jackson,was a Presbyterian missionary who promoted contracting with federal funds to support mission schools. Russian Orthodox Schools were not included in this arrangement.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 was passed in an era when commercial whaling was in the minds of the public and an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara resuted in visible damage to the land and the ocean. Alaska Natives used the opportunity of this legislation to advocate for the continued use of marine mammals for subsistence purposes.

During the Russian era the Russians attempted to establish a colony in Yakutat but did not have the cooperation of the Tlingit who lived in the area. In 1806 the Tlingits destroyed the post and killed all of the Russian inhabitants.

Territorial Act of 1912
The Territorial Act of 1912 established the territorial legislature whose members woud be elected by Alaskans. However, the governor was still a federal appointee and the legislature had very narrow budgetary influence, as the functions of the federal departments and the fisheries continued to be controlled at the federal level.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 was signed into law by President Carter and created over 100 million acres of parks, preserves, wildlife refuges and monuments, wild and scenic rivers. This Act more than doubled the protected lands in the United States. It included a key provision on subsistence, i.e., traditional and customary use. The impact of this provision continues to impact State and federal public policy today.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Alaska Native Sisterhood were originally formed to promote the assimilation of Alaska Natives and the work of Christian missions. However, they became key organizations in promoting the rights of Alaska Natives, especially in the Southeast. They advocated for citizenship and fought against discrimination. The organizations continue to be active today.

Indian Self-Determination Act
The Indian Self-determination Act of 1975 was an important milestone in a policy shift on the part of the federal government. It was President Nixon who began this shift away from assimilation and toward the right of self-determination for Indian nations. Under the Nixon administration there were early efforts by tribes to contract with the federal government directly to deliver programs and services for tribal members. The Indian Self-determination Act was a recognition that services woud be improved when the tribes were allowed to contract and it clarified the policies and procedures by which this coud occur.

Juie Kitka
Juie Kitka is a long-time President of the Alaska Federation of Natives. During her term of office, AFN has tackled the issues of subsistence, federal contracts, and Native governance. Under President Kitka's leadership studies have also been promoted to evaluate the status of Alaska Native communities.

Katie John
Katie John is an Alaska Native elder. Court cases surrounding her have come to signify the importance of the subsistence provisions of ANILCA and the sharp differences that have emerged between the federal, State and Tribal governments about these provisions.

Tanana Chiefs
The Tanana Chiefs Conference is one of the many regional non profit Native corporations in the State of Alaska. TCC contracts with the State and federal government and pursues grants from private sources as well in order to better the social and economic conditions of people within the TCC region.

Regional Corporations
Regional Corporations were created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Based on the land loss formua and the number of enrolled shareholders, each of the twelve in-state corporations received a portion of the $962.5 million settlement and a portion of the 40+ million acre promise of title for remaining Native lands. Corporations were to use these assets to promote the economic and social interests of Alaska Native shareholders and their descendents. Currently the corporations make up a growing part of the Alaskan economy. They invest billions of dollars in subsidiaries, investments and real estate and are a significant force in the Alaskan economy.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a part of the Department of Interior that oversees the roles and responsibilities of the federal government in meeting its treaty obligations to Indian tribes.

William Pau
William Pau was one of the most important figures in Alaska Native politics. He was a Tlingit from Southeast Alaska who graduated form the Carlisle Indian School (Pennsylvania) and who went on to pursue a law degree. William Pau was the first Native attorney in Alaska and he campaigned and won a seat in the Territorial House of Representatives in 1924. Mr. Pau organized early efforts by the Tlingit and Haida to win tribal land rights and advocated tirelessly for rights for all Alaska Natives.

Indian Child Welfare Act
The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 was the recognition by Congress of the rights of tribes to look after the interests of their children. This legislation, among other things, prevents the adopting out (to non tribal members) of children of the tribe without the consent of the tribe. It also recognizes the important role that tribes play in looking after the best interests of the children, including foster care and juvenile justice.

Elizabeth Peratrovich
Elizabeth Peratrovich was a prominent member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood who argued for the passage of the Anti- Discriminaton Bill in the Territory of Alaska. In 1988 the Alaska Legislature established February 16th as "Elizabeth Peratrovich Day" to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Discrimination Act in 1945.

Eben Hobson
Eben Hobson was prominent in the formation of the Arctic Slope Native Association and providing leadership for the Alaska Federation of Natives. He was elected to the Alaska legislature and helped to create the North Slope Borough in the 1970s. In 1979 one of his last public acts was the creation of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference.

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 was an attempt by Congress to settle Native land claims in order to clear the way for the Alaska pipeline. Under the terms of this Act Congress paid $962.5 million for the taking of more than 300 million acres of Native land title. Alaska Natives were promised clear title to over 40 million acres of their remaining land. Congress largely sidestepped the issue of Alaska's tribal governments by creating regional and village corporations.


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