Resources for the Study of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

December 18, 2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) by President Richard Nixon. The settlement of 44 million acres of land and close to a billion dollars is the largest settlement of Native land claims in American history. ANCSA transformed the social, political and economic landscape of Alaska. However, it extinguished Aboriginal title to the land and Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, severely restricting the extent of Native control over the land ceded to them.

ANCSA is often viewed as an historic movement that culminated in the 1971 settlement, but it is also a continually evolving significant part of Native life that has been amended over the years to address issues such as who owns shares, how earnings are distributed, and how provisions can be made for encouraging and facilitating Native hire.

On this 50th anniversary, the Alaska Historical Society wanted to recognize the movement that led to ANCSA and its evolving significance, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and struggles of those who made this happen. The result is the “Guide to Sources for the Study of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)” (edited by Karen Brewster), which presents primary archival, published and on-line sources that will be useful to anyone interested in learning about ANCSA.

The guide is presented in three-volumes:

Volume 1: “Guide to Sources for the Study of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)”

  • Introduction to the Guide by William Schneider, Karen Brewster, Joan Antonson
  • Brief Interpretive History of ANCSA by William Schneider
  • Description of Collections By Location and Detailed Inventories of Collections by Karen Brewster
  • ANCSA Timeline by Joan Antonson
  • List of Key Participants in ANCSA by Sue Sherif and Ron Inouye

Volume 2: ANCSA Bibliography by Sue Sherif and Joan Antonson

Volume 3: Resources For Teaching ANCSA at 50 by Michael Hawfield (PDF’s of items mentioned in this list of resources is available at the PDF Resources for Teaching ANCSA at 50 webpage in the Discover Alaska’s History section of the Alaska Historical Society website)

This project was supported by a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, and contributions from  the following Native corporations: Doyon Limited, Sealaska, Bering Straits, Calista, and
Koniag. Additional support was provided by the Atwood Foundation through a grant to
the UAA Consortium Library.