ANCSA-U 2021 Activities

Invited Heritage Project Grant with First Alaskans Institute, Story by Amanda Bremner

As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passage of ANCSA on December 18, 2021, First Alaskans Institute honored the dedication of those who fought for what we have today, made sacrifices to protect and advance our self-determination as Native peoples, and are still fighting today to ensure our peoples thrive. To do this we hosted a series of Coffeetimes in which we hosted Alaska Native Leaders, allies and friends who uplift and protect our voice and advance Native people’s right to self-determine our future through the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and beyond.

Coffeetimes:

1) We re-aired Willie Hensley’s keynote speech from this year’s Elders & Youth Conference, where Willie and a panel of young leaders reviewed the passage of ANCSA and discussed what it meant for our people at the time and what the ensuing journey has been like over the last 50 years. 

2) We shared Rosita Worl’s presentation from this year’s Elders and Youth Conference regarding the past, current and future impacts of blood quantum on our community, the original language in ANCSA and the amendments that altered the language but hasn’t always had positive effects. Following the keynote, La quen náay hosted a discussion on blood quantum and it’s impacts on the Native community of Kodiak.

3) We hosted former Governor Bill Walker and former Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer in a discussion that reviewed how ANCSA has greatly benefited Alaskans, industries, and interests within Alaska outside of the Native community, shedding light on an aspect rarely discussed related to ANCSA: it’s powerful impact on all Alaskans.

4) We hosted Aleesha Towns-Bain, Rosita Worl and Susan Anderson in a discussion around the foundational impacts of ANCSA through education and cultural heritage organizations, and the imperative we collectively feel to support the revitalization and thrival of our cultural knowledge. 

We hosted an ANCSA U “Changing the Narrative” Contest on social media where participants were asked to post a photo or video showing their love of our homelands through their eyes – photographs, virtual tours, singing, dancing, etc. We had a total of 18 participants (small sampling of entries will be emailed). We purchased several pieces of art by our Indigenous artists to incentivize the contest.

We are very thankful to TCF for supporting FAI’s initiative to bring ANCSA to the forefront of conversations in Alaska Native people’s homes. We are currently working to get each of the coffeetime video recordings professionally edited so that we may preserve the discussions to share in the future in effort to continue bringing light to ANCSA and how the act impacts Alaska Native lives. We are in talks with 360TV to edit the content for re-airing on statewide TV at a later date. In the meantime, unedited versions are currently still available on FAI’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.