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ANCSA Regional Association Comments on Review of GAO Study

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (January 10, 2013) - The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Regional Association (the Association) reviewed the recently released Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report, Regional Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs): Status 40 Years after Establishment, and Future Considerations.

“ANCSA was enacted by Congress as a mechanism to empower Alaska Native people in the pursuit of self-determination, and it continues to live up to its original intent,” said Jason Metrokin, chairman of the Association. 

The GAO’s 79-page report confirmed that ANCs provide diverse and substantial economic, social and cultural benefits to shareholders, including dividends, employment and training opportunities, scholarships, as well as cultural and charitable donations that preserve and enhance Alaska Native cultures for future generations.  It also formally recognized the disparate geographic, economic and social challenges faced by ANCs and Alaska Natives as a whole.  The GAO issued a “no recommendation” finding in the report.

While the Association acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of the GAO in compiling the report, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) issued a press release making overreaching recommendations based on anecdotal data contained in the report. The Association strongly disagrees with Rep. Markey’s assertions that Alaska Natives are “second-class shareholders” in the fiscal oversight of and participation in their corporations.  Furthermore, the tone of the release suggests that ANCs are failing to provide adequate financial reporting, simply because they are not filing reports under securities laws that were designed specifically for publicly-traded entities.

“Our Regional corporations value transparency and integrity, and deliver financial documents tailored to each region’s demographics based upon those principles and are generated according to generally accepted accounting procedures (GAAP) by licensed or certified auditing firms,” said Metrokin. “As corporate officers and shareholders, we worked to grow our Regional corporations to be effective private entities that are forces of positive change and empowerment in our communities. We will continue to pursue and establish solutions to the very real challenges we face as Alaska Native people.”

About the ANCSA Regional Association:  Incorporated as The Association of ANCSA Regional Corporation Presidents and CEOs, Inc.; and includes a membership of the chairperson, president, or CEO/COO from each of the 12 Regional Native Corporations, as well as the president of the Alaska Federation of Natives.  The Association exists to promote the understanding and intent of ANCSA and the role of the Regional corporations in creating a sustainable socioeconomic future for Alaska Native people. 

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