ANCSA: historic act with far-reaching impact

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was signed into law on December 18, 1971 as a way to resolve long-standing conflicts between the government and the Native people who had lived here for millennia. ANCSA marked a new approach to Native land claims—and a shift away from the reservation system found throughout the U.S.

Under ANCSA, 12 regions were designated across Alaska, and 12 for-profit regional corporations were authorized, including BBNC. More than 200 village corporations were also established. In a settlement involving nearly 45 million acres, Congress transferred land from federal to private ownership and appropriated $962 million in funds to be managed by the newly formed corporations. As shareholders of these corporations, the Alaska Native people would determine the land’s use and guide its development.

BBNC received title to more than three million subsurface acres and more than 115,000 surface acres as part of the ANCSA land settlement. BBNC proudly manages and stewards these lands in accordance with its Land and Resources Policies and for the benefit of shareholders. Land management often includes working in partnership with 25 Bristol Bay village corporations over split estate, when BBNC holds title to subsurface estate and a village corporation holds title to surface estate.

In addition to settling land claims conflicts, ANCSA has also acted as an engine for economic development in Alaska, especially in rural areas. As one of the 12 Alaska Native corporations created by ANCSA, BBNC has been contributing to Alaska’s economy since our founding in 1972. And we’ve distributed more than $200 million in distributions to our shareholders.

Learn more about ANCSA

Interested in learning more? The following resources contain additional information on ANCSA:

  • The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Resource Center – Sponsored by Landye Bennett Blumstein, LLP, this site provides an in-depth look at ANCSA and includes links to the law, its amendments and related legislation.
  • ANCSA Regional Association – The official Association of Alaska Native Regional Corporation CEOs.
  • Land Conveyance Flowchart – Remarkably, the land transfer specified under ANCSA is still not complete, nearly half a century after the bill’s passage. In Bristol Bay, 98% of the lands promised by ANCSA have been fully patented. For details on this complex process, see our Land Conveyance Flowchart.
  • ANVCA – Official association of Alaska Native Village Corporations.
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Native Knowledge Network – This resource contains links to information, articles, audio interviews and curricula related to ANCSA.