Comprehensive Guide to Landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The first-ever comprehensive guide to historical sources about the landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) has been completed by the Alaska Historical Society (AHS).
The three-volume, nearly 1,200-page Guide to Sources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act identifies the vast majority of documents in existence about the historic claims act legislation located in archives, libraries, personal collections and online from Alaska to Washington, D.C. It serves as the premier information gateway for researchers, historians and those interested in the fascinating history of how the largest land claims settlement in U.S. history became law.
The AHS spent more than two years identifying documents about the act and detailing where they are located and how they can be accessed. The project unearthed numerous fascinating “gems” leading to passage of the act, such as:
- A 20-page report about the first statewide meeting of Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage in 1966 that laid the groundwork for establishment of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
- A 1970 speech by President Nixon on Indian policy in which he called for a new approach to the federal treatment of Native Americans, a historic change from termination to self-determination.
- A speech by Dr. Henry Forbes, whose financial backing helped establish the Tundra Times and who worked with Howard Rock, the newspaper’s founder and editor.
PRAISE FOR THE GUIDE
“The Alaska Historical Society has produced a valuable resource guide to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,” said Tlingit elder and land claims activist Irene Rowan, who also served in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s as special assistant for Alaska programs to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior. “This tool is important to those wishing to learn who was involved—why, how and who benefited. The guide will be useful in so many ways for so many people for many years to come. I commend and thank the AHS for taking on this mammoth and important project.”
“ANCSA was a major turning point in the history of Alaska Natives and their relationships to local, state and federal governments,” said Chuck Smythe, senior ethnologist with the Sealaska Heritage Institute. “This invaluable sourcebook provides a guide to primary and secondary sources for understanding what led to this act and its aftermath, which is still unfolding across the state.”
EXPLORING THE GUIDE
The project is organized into three separate documents for ease of use:
- VOLUME 1 – HISTORY AND ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS is an inventory of primary sources about the act detailing where specific historic documents are housed and how to view them. Sites include university, state and national archives, presidential libraries, museums, on-line data bases and agencies such as the National Park Service.
- VOLUME 2 – ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY is a bibliography of published and unpublished sources of information about the act including books, articles, films, websites, major archival collections and even college theses and term papers. For example, it includes the college research paper Iñupiaq leader Willie Hensley wrote in 1966 which brought to light the legal reasons Natives had a claim to land.
- VOLUME 3 – RESOURCES FOR THE TEACHING OF ANCSA AT 50 is a guide for educators wanting to teach about ANCSA and features curriculum approaches and key questions to pursue with their students.
ACCESSING THE GUIDE ONLINE
The guide is a fully searchable and navigable electronic PDF document available online.
- Access the complete guide at the Alaska Historical Society’s webpage: www.tinyurl.com/ANCSAguide
- Access the complete guide at Scholarworks, a digital repository for University of Alaska research: www.tinyurl.com/ANCSAguideUA
OUR FUNDING PARTNERS
Essential funding for the project came from Alaska Native regional corporations including Doyon, Sealaska, Calista, Bering Straits and Koniag, as well as from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Atwood Foundation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact William Schneider, project director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Project’s Informational Flyer
Download AHS Press Release, August 22, 2022