Sen. McCaskill Tribal Legislation Misguided and Damaging
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Calling it misguided and wrong, Native American leaders criticized
legislation introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) that would effectively dismantle
Alaska Native Corporations' (ANCs) access to federal contracting through the Small
Business Administration's Native 8(a) program.
"It is clear Sen. McCaskill has turned a blind eye to the progressive policies of her
predecessors allowing Native people a chance at economic self-sufficiency," said
Jana Turvey, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Afognak Native Corporation. "The
Senator's crusade, despite countless success stories, shows a clear lack of
understanding of federal Indian policies and deliberate ignorance of the benefits Alaska
Native shareholders, their descendants and families receive because of the program."
Robin Kornfield, Vice President, Communications and Marketing at NANA Development
Corporation said, "Sen. McCaskill appears to be driven by headlines, not good public
policy. Suggesting that Native people are better served by government handouts rather
than business development is absurd. Welfare is not the answer."
"Senator McCaskill's claims of widespread abuses are plain false," said Turvey, "and
there is no evidence beyond the couple of cited cases. In an effort to protect her home-
town constituencies, Sen. McCaskill has declared war on Native 8(a) corporations for
Sen. McCaskill has indicated that her proposal would impose a cap on the size of
federal contracts ANCs can receive through the 8(a) program. Congress created the
program to provide a hand-up to ANCs, Tribes and Hawaiian Native Organizations,
whose owners represent hundreds and thousands of economically disadvantaged
individuals. As a result, access to federal contracting through the 8(a) program has
energized dozens of Native Corporations, Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations
and shareholders are experiencing growing benefits.
"This is about more than Alaska Native Corporations; this is an assault on Native
enterprises as a whole. This kind of legislation is about generating sound bites, not
helping Native enterprises achieve social and economic parity in our country," said
Robin Danner, President and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
According to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Regional Association Annual
report, benefits from ANCs fueled by Native 8(a) Contracting include:
- More than 35,000 jobs worldwide.
- NANA Regional Corporation distributed approximately $20 million to its more
than 12,000 shareholders this week.
- In 2008, the 12 Alaska Native Regional Corporations distributed $171 million in
dividends to shareholders, epresenting 66 percent of net profits.
- In 2008, Alaska Regional corporations contributed $11.1 million in educational
scholarships to more than 3,200 recipients.