Robert Snigaroff and Craig Richards have posted “Alaska Native Corporation Endowment Models,” published in the Alaska Law Review.
New settlement trust provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have significant implications for Alaska Native Corporation business longevity and the appropriateness of an operating business model given ANC goals as stated in their missions. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 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.