Do not confuse Alaska Native art with cheap, imitation “Native art” made overseas and sold in gift shops catering to tourists. Today’s contemporary Alaska Native artists create original and stunning art, equal in creativity to anything found in art centers such as New York or London.
In 1971, ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) was ratified to resolve long-standing indigenous land claims and to nurture economic development for Alaska Natives with the creation of the Alaska Native Corporation. The Act created more than two hundred village corporations and twelve regional corporations within Alaska.
Alaska Native Corporations have become powerhouses of our state’s economy, generating billions of dollars and providing thousands of jobs for Alaskans. In 2013, according to the ANCSA CEO Association, Alaska Native Corporations accounted for more than 70 percent of the total revenue of the top 49 Alaskan-owned companies.
As we promote development of the Arctic—and its myriad energy resources—it is imperative that local residents have meaningful opportunities to participate in and benefit from development.
I was listening to the radio the other day. A panel of notable Alaskan folks told the audience what they thought would happen in Alaska over time. All of them were actually quite positive about our long-term future. They postulated based on their experiences and backgrounds quite elegantly, giving corroborating facts and information as much as time allowed.
The past thirty years witnessed Alaska’s economic growth through climbing and falling oil prices, growing pains of Alaska Native corporation prosperity, and a position in global logistics eyed by not only businesses but also the US military.