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A Mission Beyond Business
Contributed by Bering Straits Native Corporation

t Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) our mission is our guiding star. This mission—to improve the quality of life of our people through economic development while protecting our land and preserving our culture and heritage—is what drives us. We know that having a strong sense of purpose and mission helps individuals and companies alike navigate uncertainty. Time has shown us how organizations that clearly define their mission are well-positioned for long-term success.

While each Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) has a different mission, we all have one thing in common: We work to create a healthier socioeconomic future for Alaska Native people. ANCs are unique in that their missions predate their incorporations. For more than 10,000 years, our ancestors have thrived in the Arctic, guided by the same principles that guide our corporation today. BSNC’s mission is not only a continuation of our way of life. It exists to guide us forward.

We are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which was signed into law on December 18, 1971. This law, rooted in Alaska Native ownership, empowers BSNC to have a social mission. We celebrate that, as a result of ANCSA, ANCs have become major economic drivers in Alaska, helping to protect the state’s economy through trying times, both before the pandemic and after.

Missions and values are strategic business elements that, when thoughtfully developed and effectively implemented, successfully guide corporate decision making. These elements, when combined, go on to inspire employees and provide meaningful benefits to shareholders.

Each of BSNC’s 2,000 employees work for a corporation owned by Indigenous shareholders. This means that everything from our everyday operations to our long-term decision making is guided by the Alaska Native values we cherish. We honor our commitments, we empower one another, we respect diversity, and we lead with responsibility. While being mission-driven provides us with focus and commitment, it is our values that keep us on track.

When the BSNC board of directors makes decisions, the continuation of our subsistence way of life is always considered first and foremost. Our people have a spiritual connection to the land born from thousands of years of living sustainably in the Arctic. Today, shareholders and generations of their descendants participate in the economic, political, and social development of Alaska and our nation and inform governance of the Arctic.

“We honor our commitments, we empower one another, we respect diversity, and we lead with responsibility. While being mission-driven provides us with focus and commitment, it is our values that keep us on track.”

Anyone working for an Inuit-owned ANC must seek to understand who Inuit are. Our values are interwoven with our history, and without our values, BSNC could not exist.

Our values are:

  • Working together for a common cause
  • Being innovative and resourceful
  • Respecting and caring for the land, the environment, and animals
  • Being welcoming and inclusive
  • Serving and providing for our families and communities
  • Developing the skills of our youth through mentoring opportunities

We are living through a period of extraordinary uncertainty. With employees working on projects around the world, we recognize that each employee plays an important role in helping BSNC fulfill its mission, especially in these difficult times.

BSNC’s endurance and growth over the past ten years is a testament to its commitment to its shareholders and our region. Today, we are fiercely determined to fulfill our mission. Our employees’ commitment to this mission situates BSNC to make a positive, long-lasting impact for our shareholders, their descendants, and the region. Guided by our mission and the values of our people, all of us at BSNC are looking forward to a bright Arctic future.