Natives still waiting for land claims

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005

In regard to the recent House Bill 130, which transfers 260,000 acres of state land to the University of Alaska for development, is this a handout or land grab or an economic bill?

As an indigenous person that is still waiting for our land claims filed in the early 1970s, this is a fine example of wind direction. There are hundreds of indigenous land claims that are on file waiting for their settlement, some as far back as a hundred years. We are on this Earth for a short time, and time has and is gone for a lot of our people. Alaska and America have treated indigenous people with social inequality, social injustice, racism and prejudice in all aspects of assimilation into the Western society. We suffer from all of the above.

Corporations were mismanaged and went bankrupt. Remember that our corporations own the land. We, as shareholders, do not hold deed to any of it, not one square foot. It seems that all the land claims produced were a giant economic engine that CEOs and lawyers stood in line to reap the benefits of. What was the true intent of the land claims? Has this happened as our elders thought it was going to? Where are we going? What does the future hold for these people or the next generation? The wheels of justice are slow-turning when it comes to our claims. Maybe the dead horse was shot out underneath me, and there it lies. Someone give it a kick, and maybe the wind direction will change in our favor.

Tim Ackerman


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