How we Became the Corporation and Community We are Today

When Alaska became a state in 1959, Native people disputed the government’s claim to ownership—they fought for the rights to their lands for years. Finally, in 1971, Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), designating 12 regions throughout the state and established for-profit regional and village corporations. BBNC was one of those corporations.

ANCSA transferred ownership of nearly 45 million acres from the federal government to these newly formed private corporations. The settlement signaled a shift away from the reservation system, which had previously been used to resolve the land claims of Indigenous people in the Lower 48, and toward a new system designed to stimulate economic development across Alaska and uplift Native people. (In addition to the 12 regional corporations, ANCSA also created more than 200 village corporations.) The Native people of each region became the shareholders of their region’s corporation, which from then on determined the use and development of the land.

Through this historic settlement, BBNC received title to more than three million subsurface acres and more than 115,000 surface acres: pristine land defined by rivers, lakes, tundra, mountains, glaciers, and volcanoes that support an astonishing diversity of wildlife.

Our business started with a focus on fishing that grew out of the natural bounty of our waters and our people’s long history with subsistence living.

Today, more than 50 years since ANCSA became law, BBNC still manages and stewards these lands for the benefit of shareholders and all Alaskans, often in partnership with Bristol Bay village corporations. Our business started with a focus on fishing that grew out of the natural bounty of our waters and our people’s long history with subsistence living. It has since expanded and diversified dramatically, widening our capabilities to include services in several sectors in locations around the globe.

More than 11,000 shareholders currently benefit from our education and job training programs, investments in economic development, quarterly distributions, and more.

Our People

The ancient customs, languages, and traditions of our ancestors guide BBNC.


Originally from the ocean-facing side of the Alaska Peninsula, the Alutiiq were skilled kayakers who subsisted largely on fish and sea mammals, which provided food and the materials for clothing, boats, and lamp oil.


Living near Iliamna Lake and Lake Clark, the Dena’ina people relied primarily on moose, caribou, and red salmon. They also built canoes made of birch bark, moose hide, and cottonwood.


From the Bay side of the peninsula, the Yup’ik people fished and hunted land mammals, prizing moose and caribou for their meat and skins.


A Shared Way of Life

The Alutiiq, Dena’ina, and Yup’ik peoples harvested berries and plants—both as food and for medicinal purposes. Today, many Alaska Natives continue to uphold their way of life through subsistence living, traditional food preparation, dance, music, stories, traditional crafts, and visual arts.


Fish First: The Story Of Our Logo

Circle of Life

A strong image can speak volumes, conveying layers of vital information without a single word. Our corporate logo, “The Eternal Circle of Life,” communicates BBNC’s cherished stories and deepest values in a thoughtfully designed icon.

Our logo declares that our heart is here in Bristol Bay, where our Native cultures have thrived for 10,000 years. Also embedded in the logo is our mission to enrich our Native way of life—at the heart of which is salmon, our source of sustenance and inspiration.

Salmon Story: Three Stages of Life

As the sparkling salmon of Bristol Bay mature, they leave the blue waters of the sea, their scales turning from silver to red. They make their way upstream to spawn in the pure headwaters where they once hatched, using all their strength and determination to reach their destination. The cycle they complete—and circle they form in our logo—represents perpetuity, wholeness, and inclusion.

Our Corporate Origin Story

Our three corporate colors— blue, silver, and salmon—hold a second meaning. They signify the three ancient cultures of the Bristol Bay region: the Alutiiq, Dena’ina, and Yup’ik people who came together thousands of years ago. A long history of cooperation led to the formation of BBNC under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Since then, BBNC has been dedicated to enriching our Native way of life through a three-pronged growth strategy: build a marketable securities portfolio, establish profitable companies, and invest in BBNC shareholders and our region.

Fish First

Visible in our corporate colors, the number three is a theme that runs throughout BBNC’s corporate DNA. And there are three key reasons behind our “Fish First” value. First, salmon are at the heart of our subsistence culture—they always have been and always will be—and for this reason alone, they deserve our protection. Second, the fish are an important element in the economic health of our state as a whole. And finally, Bristol Bay is home to one of the largest wild sockeye salmon fisheries in the world. We have a human and environmental responsibility to protect this resource.