Shareholders should have a say

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, July 26, 2004

The much-heated controversy over the land swap at Berners Bay between Sealaska and Cape Fox and the federal government has raised concerns. I as a shareholder in Sealaska would like to add to the situation.

If you look up the laws pertaining to Alaska Native Claims Act, in the corporations it states specifically that we as shareholders should be involved in any land transfer or decisions that are regarding our land being sold or traded, etc., as we all have witnessed as we, the owners of the corporations, have been reduced to nonparticipation in matters that are at hand.

We could have a vote on the decision. Of course, the votes would always be manipulated to show a yes vote on anything the board wishes to adopt or change. This is where the discretionary vote comes into play. Block voting, whatever you would like to call it.

Another bill introduced in Congress is the Alaska Lands Transfer Acceleration Act. This would speed the process of land conveyance to Native corporations. This doesn't sound right. We should have had all land conveyed 30 years ago when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law. We should change the name of this act to Alaska Native Corporation Shareholder Alienation Act.

Remember, the act spoke at one time of maximum participation by the owners of the corporation. Litigation will tie up all claims until this generation is gone. What does the future hold for our descendants? Logging continues to fuel the beast after all other avenues have failed.

Tim Ackerman


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