Vote 'No' on Sealaska shareholder resolutions

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Virgil Ward's letter of Jan. 31 brought up some important points about separating the resolutions to allow shareholders to vote separately on the "new Natives," elders stock and stock for left-outs.

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June is fast approaching, and soon it will be time for shareholders to reject the proposed Sealaska resolutions. A "No" vote will send a clear message that the shareholders want to bring the issues back to the table at a later time. Voting to reject these three resolutions does not mean you do not support stock for left-outs, new Natives or elders, it will show that you want to examine each on its own merit and want more information to make a informed decision.

Since 1971, when the corporations were formed, we have corporate baseline data that can be used to create projection models of how the elders stock resolution could affect shareholders. For example, the U.S. government statisticians use population projections to predict how the aging work force will financially affect the Social Security system. Similarly, we can create models that will predict how distribution of another 100 shares of elders life estate stock will affect dividend distribution amounts to shareholders.

To make an informed decision on the new Natives, we can use combined data from surrounding tribal databases or census records to create projections of how this will affect dividend distribution amounts. We can predict future Native birth rates based on the number of children per household. The same tribal databases can be used for population projections to determine how many life shares will be distributed for the left-outs.

There are approximately 16,000 Sealaska shareholders and they are expected to vote on resolutions that will add an unknown number of shares and shareholders. Each resolution on its own will affect monetary distributions in unknown proportions. Population projections and growth models may take years to gather because it will involve using tribal databases or the 2010 census. We need to approach these resolutions cautiously and reject them until we know the effect.

The proposed Sealaska resolutions are not a deal-or-no-deal proposition but will be an ongoing one that should be solved over time.

Ray Austin

Albuquerque, N.M.

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