My next series..ANC Shareholder Rights

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was made a law December 18, 1971.

That title of this law, in my opinion, leaves out the word, “land” on purpose.

Because there can only be a settlement between people.  The land and cash was the monetary value of the settlement between the United States and the Alaska Native people.

But the structure, and certainly the people were an afterthought or at least not central to the original act.

Alaska Natives and Indigenous People do not share the same value systems as the westernized world.

This is an Act that demonstrates leadership by all Americans, the new (outsiders) and the Indigenous (landowners).

Here is the “secret”about a “settlement”.  It sounds so warm and fuzzy. But it is not.

The reality of a settlement is like this:

Both parties just walked away feeling like they just got fucked – but the worst part is – both sides of the lawsuit are talked into signing their consent AFTER the violating act of being fucked, and not before.

There is no closure. 

I have only identified myself as a part of the “we” as a culture.  Being just “me” is something I struggle with because it feels foreign and unfamiliar.

I was raised, nurtured and taught how to think of who I am.  And I am forever grateful for that. I get to live for greater good first, naturally.

Then suddenly to experience that the “we” community does not care about me at all, as an individual in that community. My whole self-identity, my reality of the world and people was gone.

But you get told by the lawyers, “we have so much evidence”. 

“We will go through this mediation but we will do not have to settle”. 

And this is legal advise given at the moment of time that the defendants had not complied with the court schedule of discovery. 

And we told our attorneys over and over, why would we mediate when we have not gone through discovery? 

But we were convinced that this was a prudent exercise. 

And then through the course of mediation, the legal advice changed.

Was it in part the fact that a newly retired Supreme Court Justice was the mediator? 

I know what I was told. 

I was told that even though I was personally targeted – and even though I was a board member – that it was still my fiduciary duty to the corporation to settle, because that would demonstrate me exercising my fiduciary duty.   

And I did, because we are raised as we and the “I” doesn’t matter.

But that, “I” matters a lot to those same people that tell you that you do not.    

And they tell you how much you do not matter by minimizing you, disregarding you, wanting you to do the work and funnel it through them. Or only reach out to you, if they feel they need you – for information, for your expertise, or to appropriate your power as their own.

I guarantee you, you will not receive a call from them because they give a shit about you.

You get a call because you have something they need. Therefore you are useful at the moment.

Dear Lord, let that not be me.

Published by Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities. An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's. I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child. I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing. So for me, my goal is two-fold: 1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and, 2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board. There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not. I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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