Opinion: Alaska Native corporation about culture not greed
"As a tribal member of Sealaska, I can no longer stand by while people like him take advantage of the anti-corporation sentiment of the day to denigrate Alaska Natives, simply because of their congress-mandated designation.

Sealaska is not owned by a single founder, not a group of investors and not by a wealthy family. Sealaska is owned equally by more than 20,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshians. There are no stock sales, stock options, or "get rich" exit strategies. Sealaska will not be sold or bought or taken over by another corporation. We are a Native institution with the unique responsibility of combining business goals with Native values.

The differences between Alaska Native corporations and other American corporations are dramatic and profound. It is clear to anyone who looks at the original content of ANCSA that it was designed to assimilate Alaska Natives into the mainstream of American capitalism. However, dozens of amendments have been made since then, such as the "1991 Amendments," which dramatically changed the act by continuing the restrictions on the sale of stock and allowing shares to be gifted to descendants. Alaska Natives prompted these changes to ANCSA, which continue to this day, as Alaska Natives define their relationship with their Native corporations based on their Native values and heritage.

Recently, Sealaska members voted to do the most "anti" for-profit corporation act imaginable. They decided to devalue their stock and therefore all future dividends by inviting young people to enroll in the corporation. This is proof positive that sharing with the next generation is far more important than any individual's dividends. This act of sharing is at the heart of Native people who understand we are all related and at times we will need each other as we move through life."

Get the Story:
Morgan Howard: Sealaska's priority is a culture's needs, not individual greed (The Anchorage Daily News 4/1)

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