New settlement trust provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have significant implications for Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) business longevity and the appropriateness of an operating business model given ANC goals as stated in their missions. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) authorized the creation of for-profit corporations for the benefit of Alaska Native shareholders. But for Alaska Natives, cultural continuation was and continues to be a desired goal. Considering the typical life span of U.S. corporations and the inevitability of eventual failure, the for-profit corporate model is inconsistent with aspects of the ANC mission. Settlement trust amendments to ANCSA facilitate ANC cultural continuation goals solving the problem of business viability risk. We make a normative case that ANCs should consider increasing endowment business activity. We also discuss the Alaska Permanent Fund and lessons that those structuring settlement trusts might learn from literature on sovereign wealth funds and endowments.
Since the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, there has been significant debate over whether the Secretary of the Interior should accept land in trust for the benefit of federally recognized tribes in Alaska. A number of legal opinions have considered the issue and have reached starkly different conclusions. In 2017, the United States accepted in trust a small parcel of land in Craig, Alaska. This affirmative decision drew strong reactions from both sides of the argument. Notably absent from the conversation, however, was any mention or discussion of Alaska’s existing trust parcels. Hidden in plain sight, their stories reflect the complicated history of federal Indian policy in Alaska, and inform the debate over the consequences of any future acquisitions.
Across the country, Indigenous women are murdered more than any other population and go missing at disproportionate rates. This crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women is amplified in Alaska, where the vast landscape, a confusing jurisdictional scheme, and a history of systemic racism all create significant barriers to justice for Alaska Native women. This Note examines the roots of the crisis and calls for a holistic response that acknowledges the role of colonialism, Indigenous genocide, and governmental failures. While this Note focuses on the epidemic of violence against Alaska Native women in particular, it seeks to provide solutions that will increase the visibility and protection of Indigenous women throughout North America.
“If a person is murdered in the village, you’ll be lucky if someone comes in three, four days to work the murder site and gather what needs to be gathered so you can figure out a case later . . . but if you shoot a moose out of season, you’re going to get two brownshirts there that day.”