CARES ACT and Alaskan Native Corporations

I am not here to throw a wrench in the arguments published by these Alaska Native Regional Corporation leaders; however this is a very complex issue.

The bottom line is that the United States Congress included in the CARES ACT language to include Alaska Native Corporations as Tribes “for the purposes of the CARES Act funding distribution”.

What has spiraled out of control is a mischaracterization presented here of the level of responsibility over Alaska Native people, infrastructure, and well-being by these corporations.

The bottom line is this: those programs, functions, services and activities remain (largely) an inherent federal responsibility – unless there is a Tribal Compact Agreement in place – otherwise known as 638 compacting.

If Alaska Native Corporations (ANCSA) are arguing that they are in fact responsible, then there needs to be new laws enacted such as Casino Tribes per capita laws.

Because those per capita laws require a large percentage of CASINO REVENUE to be distributed to individual Tribal Members. Which is why Tribal Members (even of smaller casino proceeds) receive $10,000 per month!

Alaska Native Corporations participating in the SBA 8(a) program IN EARLIER YEARS, were allowed to pay their federal “rainmakers” a 1 or 2% of annual REVENUE.

This practice made very FEW people, who are non-shareholders very rich.

This also left shareholders receiving whatever the ANC board of directors decided for an annual dividend- as an afterthought – as opposed to a forethought like they willingly negotiated in the forefront with said “rainmakers”.

This is where State Law needs to weigh in to mandate Alaska Native Shareholder Rights.

Consider this: Alaska Native Regional Corporations own the subsurface rights to the land, and the Village Corporations own the surface rights of the land.

The Federal Government enacted ANCSA, but the STATE Of Alaska Government has jurisdiction over the Alaska Native Corporate laws INCLUDING Shareholder Rights.

To sum this up, Per Capita laws protecting the Lower 48 Tribal Member interests are housed in the State Compact Agreements between the Casino Tribes and those respective State Governments. They are not in Federal National Indian Gaming Laws.

It is time for shareholders to demand more – know what their rights are- and what governmental body has jurisdiction to protect Alaska Native Shareholder Rights!!

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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