ALASKA NATIVE SPECIAL SECTION
Getting to Know Alaska’s Regional ANCs
Protecting culture, traditions, and lands while operating successful businesses
By Kathryn Mackenzie

Since they were established as corporations in the early 1970s, the twelve Alaska Native Regional corporations have worked tirelessly to uplift their respective regions, their shareholders, and the state’s economy as a whole. All together they reported more than $10.5 billion in revenue last year—revenue that creates opportunities; protects their lands, culture, and resources; and provides investment opportunities for the entire state and, more importantly, their shareholders.

This year Alaska Business asked each corporation’s top executives to share a little about their business, new initiatives, and what makes them unique in an already rarified group. We are grateful to every person who took the time out his or her (very) busy schedule to offer this valuable insight into the past, present, and future of the regional corporations.

In no particular order, we present a snapshot of the twelve Alaska Native Regional Corporations.

AHTNA, INC.

Ahtna’s 2,000 shareholders are mainly comprised of the Ahtna Athabascan people of the Copper River and Cantwell regions of Southcentral Alaska. “The Ahtna people take their name from the indigenous word for the Copper River, which flows through Ahtna land,” according to the organization’s website.

Michelle Anderson, president of Ahtna, shares her thoughts on Ahtna’s accomplishments, future, and the importance of preserving history and culture.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
Ahtna has put an intense focus on shareholder hire and education in 2019. Ahtna made a $1 million investment in shareholder employment programs based in the eight Ahtna villages. We revamped our online scholarship program and promotion to reach more students and doubled the award amounts. We have improved our internship program and now refer to the young professionals placed throughout the company as Ahtna’s Special Forces. This is not a traditional internship offering; our Special Forces are actively engaged and participating at a management level to learn firsthand the issues, challenges, and opportunities that the Ahtna family of companies are pursuing for the betterment of our people. We have a generation to get up to speed so they are ready to step into leadership positions.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
Shareholders are genuinely excited and thankful for the employment opportunities that we’ve had in our villages this summer. Our shareholders have identified education and training as a top priority and appreciate the increase in funding for college and vocational education.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
Our corporation’s strength comes from our people and our culture. We work closely with our tribes, our region’s village corporation, our tribal nonprofits and housing authority, and our shareholders. We believe in our vision—our culture unites us; our land sustains us; our people are prosperous.

What makes your region economically unique?
We are the only Alaska Native Region whose villages are all on the road system and the highway system crosses on either side of our region. If major infrastructure development is going to happen in Alaska, it must go through our region. The Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the proposed LNG line are two examples of such infrastructure.

What do you hope the future holds for Ahtna?
Ahtna gave much for the development of Alaska and it is my hope that we see positive change in how our lands have been historically treated. Two of Ahtna’s traditional villages, Dry Creek and Gulkana, were forced to move to accommodate Alaska’s early road and airport development. No compensation has ever been provided to the Ahtna people whose traditional lands were taken during this silent, sad chapter in Alaska’s history. In the early 1900s, Gulkana’s village was literally cut in half and villagers were forced to relocate when the road was put in. In 1973, the village’s cemetery with over 100 gravesites was transferred to the State of Alaska in error and the village has been working on the return of these sacred lands ever since. We view our land protection responsibilities and fighting for our customary and traditional hunting and fishing rights as cultural survival.

Our businesses are growing and continue to give back to our shareholders and villages. We are working tirelessly to pass on our beautiful and unique culture and history, our lands, and our businesses to the next generation of Ahtna leaders.

KONIAG INC.

Koniag is owned by more than 3,800 Alaska Native shareholders. “We are the Sugpiaq-Alutiiq, a culture that has thrived for thousands of years. We make our decisions with the understanding that we will continue to prosper as a distinct people. We have traditionally relied on the land and sea for subsistence and our livelihood. We have always been sensitive to the cycles of the seasons and have recognized the need to plan ahead in order to be prepared for the future,” states the company. The Alutiiq value of caring for community is embedded in everything they do—every service, decision, and investment is a reflection of its commitment to living its culture, according to Koniag. “Koniag will continue to celebrate our traditions and values, protect our lands, advocate for our communities, and enrich the lives of our shareholders, descendants, and employees at every turn.”

Shauna Hegna, Koniag’s president, talks about the company’s bright future and expanding benefits and opportunities for the corporation’s shareholders.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
One exciting initiative we’ve been able to expand on this year is our youth scholarship program. Koniag has awarded more than 100 youth scholarships this year, allowing children and teens to attend athletic, cultural, and artistic camps. We more than doubled our investment in that area from $19,000 to $53,000 in 2019.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
Everything we do at Koniag is driven by the goal of providing meaningful benefits to our shareholders and descendants. With that in mind, we’ve been able to implement two recent developments that were suggested by our shareholders. Our shareholders told us they wanted to see Koniag begin offering a benefit for our elders, and in November 2018 we distributed the very first elder benefit. Our shareholders also indicated they wanted Koniag to explore the idea of establishing a Settlement Trust, which was overwhelmingly approved by our voting shareholders at our annual meeting last fall. Our shareholders are excited about these new initiatives, and we’re glad to listen and implement their ideas.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
We believe a rising tide lifts all boats. At Koniag, collaboration is more than just a buzzword, it is a part of everything we do. Our success is deeply intertwined with that of our community and our people. We believe that by lifting up our communities and partnering with like-minded organizations, we have been able to realize six years of financial growth at Koniag and make our communities a better place to live.

What makes your region economically unique?
Our region is unique in many ways—from the unparalleled beauty of Kodiak Island that leads to a robust tourism industry to the strong, diverse fisheries. Koniag is fortunate to have investments within our region: the Granite Cove Quarry and the Kodiak Brown Bear Center.

What do you hope the future holds for Koniag?
The future is bright for Koniag and our shareholders. We hope to continue our track record of business growth, which is six years strong. This year, we achieved a record year in pre-tax earnings, and moving forward we hope to strengthen our subsidiaries even more and acquire companies that share our vision and values. We aim to do all this by bringing many voices to the table and focusing on our strengths to keep growing and creating positive outcomes for our region and meaningful benefits for our shareholders.

ALEUT CORPORATION

Aleut Corporation represents a region of the state known as the Ring of Fire—an area that spans 1,000 miles across the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands in the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Aleut has more than 4,000 shareholders and operates seven subsidiaries primarily in government and industrial professional services and real estate.

“The Aleut Corporation’s mission to ‘maximize dividends and opportunities for our shareholders and descendants’ is in line with the requirements of ANCSA. As such, we not only provide dividends to our 4,000 shareholders; we also provide opportunities for social development through nonprofits that provide education funding, work training, healthcare, and other needed services from cradle to grave,” said President and CEO Thomas Mack in the company’s summer Aleutian Current newsletter.

“Our Aleut region has come together to collaboratively address issues that impact our region such as transportation, education, and broadband to mention a few. Together, we have taken steps to address cuts to the State budget, as well as write letters to support efforts which address poor air transportation in the Aleut region and cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway System.”

The corporation enhances the lives and culture of the Aleut people through The Aleut Foundation, which offers shareholders and descendants access to programs that fund education and training as well as cultural enrichment. The Aleut Foundation programs include educational scholarships, career development, community development, internships, travel scholarships, burial assistance, and vocational/technical skills training.

CHUGACH ALASKA CORPORATION

Chugach Alaska Corporation’s mission is to serve the interests of the Alaska Native people of the Chugach region. The organization represents more than 2,500 Aleut, Eskimo, and Indian shareholders and works to provide opportunities through responsible management of its lands, businesses, and assets, the company says.

Chugach President and CEO Gabriel Kompkoff gave Alaska Business the rundown on Chugach’s initiatives, developments, and more.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
Congress’ passage of the Chugach Lands Study Act this year is a significant milestone for Chugach, which opens the door for a potential land exchange opportunity. The Act requires the Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service to conduct a study to identify the effects that federal land acquisitions have had on Chugach’s ability to develop its lands and to identify accessible and economically viable federal land for a possible land exchange with the corporation within the next eighteen months.

Chugach’s board and leadership team have explored a land exchange for nearly two decades and were instrumental in lobbying for the inclusion of the Act into the Senate Bill (S.47). This was a strategy envisioned by our original founders when they selected parcels of land with the intent to exchange at a future date. A land exchange is just one avenue to support the long-term lands management strategy called for in Chugach’s 100-year plan.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
John Borodkin, one of Chugach’s founders, once said that he hoped the younger and current generations understood how hard he and his fellow founders fought to build our corporation—all on behalf of the Chugach community. I think he would be proud to see that members of these new generations are stepping forward and taking on more responsibility for leading the corporation into the future.

Just last year, we saw several shareholders assume key leadership positions across our organization. Former apprentice Lauren Johnson became the executive director for our philanthropic arm, Chugach Heritage Foundation. Josie Hickel was recently promoted to executive vice president of Land & Resources, where she can focus on nurturing lands-related opportunities for the organization. Peter Andersen is a vice president for Chugach Commercial Holdings, which oversees our diverse commercial portfolio of companies. And Katherine Carlton recently moved from an apprentice role in our government division to serve the new president of Chugach Education Services and general manager of Chugach Training & Educational Solutions. Advancing the next generations of shareholder leaders is one of the cornerstones of intergenerational prosperity.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
Chugach’s success is directly attributed to our board of directors, leadership team, and the nearly 6,000 employees who are committed to doing great work on behalf of our shareholders. I recognize that these talented professionals have a choice as to where they go to work every day, and I am grateful that they choose to work for Chugach companies. They reflect our core behaviors both at work and outside of work—building community, doing things the right way, empowering people, creating meaningful value, and leaving things better than we found them. I am proud say that it’s this collective community of employees who have charted a steady course to continue to deliver shareholder dividends and benefits.

What makes your region economically unique?
Chugach is a coastal region, whose economies are driven primarily by the fishing, tourism, and oil and gas industries. As an Alaska Native corporation, we’re charged with creating economic benefits for shareholders through our lands, while also protecting the land for generations to come. This balance is reflected in many of our business activities, including our twenty-five-year partnership with Alyeska Pipeline Services Company.

Chugach’s shareholder community and the Prince William Sound village corporations were among those devastated by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. As a proactive measure to prevent future oil spills, Chugach and two of the region’s village corporations—the Tatitlek Corporation and the Chenega Corporation—came together to form TCC. For the last twenty-five years, through contracts with Alyeska, TCC has provided a large portion of the SERVS manpower and expertise. TCC involvement in Prince William Sound oil spill response and prevention is a natural fit, with the majority of TCC workers being from the Sound and having grown up on the water and connected, in one form or another, to Alaska’s marine environment.

What do you hope the future holds for Chugach?
Our ultimate vision is prosperity for our people. Achieving this vision means that the corporation cannot rely on a single, evergreen strategy to carry us through the next 100 years. Our business portfolio today looks much different than it did a decade ago, and it will likely look much different a decade from now. What we do know is that we must continue enlisting passionate and prudent leaders who are willing to adapt to an evolving economic and political landscape.

DOYON, LTD.

Doyon’s actions are inspired by the phrase, Dena’ Nena’ Henash: Our Land Speaks. Doyon’s lands are in Alaska’s Interior where its 20,000 shareholders have lived and worked for generations. President and CEO Aaron Schutt offers an inside look at Doyon’s current operations, new initiatives, and hopes for the future.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
Doyon Drilling, Inc. (DDI) Rig 26, an extended reach drilling rig, will begin drilling operations in April 2020. Rig 26, coined “The Beast,” will be the largest land-based rig in North America, with the capability for directional drilling to a depth of at least 33,000 feet and capacity to develop resources within a 125 square mile area. Rig 26 is part of ConocoPhillips Alaska’s long-term strategic plan to bring the capabilities of an extended reach drilling rig to the North Slope. DDI is the premier drilling contractor on the North Slope of Alaska and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Doyon, Limited.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
Doyon is actively pursuing several mineral exploration projects within the region which provides jobs, training, support for local community events, and contributions to rural economies for shareholders.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
Our strategic planning and conservative approach.

What makes your region economically unique?
Doyon’s land ownership includes a vast mineral property holding within the well-known Tintina Gold Belt, which provides many mineral exploration and development opportunities supporting jobs, training, and rural communities.

What do you hope the future holds for Doyon?
Through exploration agreements with major and junior mining companies over the past four decades, Doyon has retained geological information from exploration on its lands. Many of the prospective lands are on or near the well-developed road system of Interior Alaska. Doyon looks forward to continued exploration to support the global and national demand for minerals and local development of rural economies.

BRISTOL BAY NATIVE CORPORATION

BBNC defines itself with three simple words: courageous, resourceful, and resilient. “These qualities have defined the three cultures of Bristol Bay since before they encountered one another. Centuries ago, the Eskimo, Aleut, and Indian people ventured from their homes, tackling tough terrain in search of resources,” according to the corporation.

All these years later, BBNC says it “embodies the bold, cooperative spirit of our ancestors, not just in Bristol Bay but far beyond. In that sense, we mirror our more than 10,000 shareholders, who are tied to this magnificent region whether they live in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seattle, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, or points between.”

The company’s goals include building its financial strength; paying its shareholders “predictable and increasing” dividends; balancing responsible development and protection of its lands, fisheries, and resources; increasing shareholder employment and development opportunities; supporting educational, cultural, and social initiatives that “positively affect shareholders and descendants”; and developing economic opportunities in the Bristol Bay region.

BBNC is led by President and CEO Jason Metrokin, who is tasked with protecting the culture and traditions of BBNC’s shareholders while finding new opportunities to provide economic development, employment, and educational opportunities. “It’s not an accident that our forward-looking corporate strategy leads to the greater good of our shareholders. It’s our commitment.”

BBNC operates in four primary sectors: tourism, industrial services, government services, and construction. This year in June BBNC subsidiary Bristol Alliance Fuels took the step to lease and operate Delta Western’s fuel terminals in Dillingham and Naknek. “This is a move about Bristol Bay that will benefit our communities through efficiency in operations and more in-region jobs. This agreement helps create value for BBNC and cost savings for our in-region Shareholders,” Joseph L. Chythlook, BBNC board chair, said about the transaction.

BBNC’s philanthropic efforts include supporting programs that celebrate, preserve, and protect Alaska Native art forms and cultural traditions; funding programs and services that improve the welfare of its shareholders and their families; and supporting events and programs that offer employment, educational, and training opportunities for shareholders and their descendants.

COOK INLET REGION, INC.

CIRI is owned by more than 8,800 shareholders who are of Athabascan, Southeast Indian, Inpuiat, Yup’ik, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, and Aleut/Unangax descent—“a unique cultural diversity that represents shareholders from all Alaska Native groups, from throughout the state.” CIRI shareholders encompass a wide range of lifestyles from traditional subsistence living to contemporary jobs. “They have become business owners, corporate executives, physicians, lawyers, educators, and social workers, among other professions. Throughout every sector, across Alaska and the Lower 48, CIRI shareholders work together to honor their diverse cultures and build a strong future for generations to come.”

Sophie Minich, president and CEO of CIRI, gives her insight on the ANC’s current projects, future plans, and the importance of equipping CIRI’s young shareholders for future success.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
The continuation of CIRI’s College Prep: Careers: Culture Experience (C3). This is the second year of the three-day camp that brings together CIRI shareholders and descendants ages fifteen to nineteen. The camp develops leadership skills, helping them prepare for college and their careers. The C3 Experience also introduces the participants to Alaska Native culture through elder storytellers, Alaska Native games, and dances. The camp teaches and celebrates the diversity and strength of Alaska Native culture, while providing key life skills for our youth.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
Any of CIRI’s programs that encourage our youth to get involved with their corporation. In addition to the C3 Experience, CIRI has broadened our outreach to our younger shareholders and descendants through an expanded internship program and our Youth Shareholder Participation Committee. These programs provide a connection to their corporation and encourage the next generation of leaders to be involved. Additionally, CIRI’s support of programs like the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and scholarships from The CIRI Foundation provide our younger shareholders and descendants better access to educational opportunities, a critical component of our company’s future. Getting our youth involved in their corporation now and ensuring that they have educational resources for the future ensures the company’s success and preservation of our cultural heritage.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
CIRI’s business activity is guided by a mission and a set of values that is rooted in our cultural heritage. In every business decision the company makes, we are driven to make a meaningful difference in the lives of CIRI shareholders, and that strategy has been successful in growing the core business, investing in innovative ideas, and has led to a carefully managed, diversified business portfolio that provides sustainable value to our shareholders now and into the future.

What makes your region economically unique?
CIRI was entrusted with some of the richest and most delicate lands in Alaska. While CIRI was granted land selections through the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the acreage offered included primarily mountainous, remote areas. CIRI’s early leadership fought for and negotiated the historic Cook Inlet Land Exchange, passed by Congress in 1976, which profoundly affected CIRI’s future success. The land exchange allowed CIRI to trade its ANCSA selections for undeveloped resource-rich lands and real estate holdings with great potential.

What do you hope the future holds for CIRI?
Our goal is to continue to build our assets and shareholders’ equity with a diverse portfolio of investments. This growth allows sustainable and increasing dividends for shareholders and for the company to continue funding cultural and educational program for the benefit of generations to come.

Bering Straits Native Corporation

Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) operates in one of the most culturally diverse regions in the state. According to the company, three distinct languages—Iñupiaq, Siberian Yupik, and Central Yup’ik—are spoken in the Bering Strait region. The people of the Diomede and King Islands are Iñupiaq and Saint Lawrence Island is the home of the only Siberian Yupik people on the American side of Bering Strait. President and CEO Gail Schubert leads the company owned by more than 8,000 shareholders. Here she shares her vision for the ANC.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
Overall shareholder benefits—including dividends, the elder distribution, bereavement payments, the Summer Internship Program, and contributions to the Bering Straits Foundation—increased by 25 percent in fiscal year 2019 over the prior fiscal year.

What new developments are your shareholders saying they are most excited about?
BSNC doubled scholarship funding for undergraduate, graduate, and vocational Bering Straits Foundation (BSF) student recipients. Newly approved scholarship increases will be offered for the fall 2019 term. Students are encouraged to fully utilize scholarships from the foundation to obtain an education or job training that will benefit our region, Alaska, and our people.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
Resilience and vision.

What makes your region economically unique?
The amount of vessel traffic through the Bering Strait continues to increase as the Northwest Passage opens due to the receding polar ice cap. Our villages border what is commonly referred to as the “choke point” in the Bering Strait because of the relatively narrow distance between our communities and the communities in Siberia. Our region has already experienced unexpected visits from large cruise ships, which are passing through the Northwest Passage in greater numbers each year.

What do you hope the future holds for Bering Straits Native Corporation?
To continue to fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life of our people through economic development while protecting our land and preserving our culture and heritage.

NANA

NANA is owned by the more than 14,300 Iñupiat shareholders or descendants who live in or have roots in northwest Alaska, according to the company. “Iñupiat have close ties to the land and to each other. The word Iñupiat means ‘real people,’ in Iñupiaq, the language.”

The NANA region is located in northwest Alaska and encompasses 38,000 square miles. The eleven communities in the NANA region include Ambler, Buckland, Deering, Kiana, Kivalina, Kobuk, Kotzebue, Noatak, Noorvik, Selawik, and Shungnak.

NANA President and CEO Wayne Westlake, an Iñupiaq from the village of Kiana, reflects on NANA’s roots, culture, and new direction.

What has been or is your favorite initiative or program of 2019?
For the last few years, we’ve been moving forward under a One NANA strategy, which streamlines operations across our companies, consolidates shared services, and promotes a number of initiatives that make us stronger—more united. Our board and leadership team took proactive steps this year to ensure oversight of business operations resides with NANA at the regional corporation level—a move that brings us back to our early corporate structure while positioning us for growth.

To what do you attribute your success as a regional ANC?
Our Iñupiat Iļitqusiat—that which makes us who we are: knowledge of family tree; love for children; avoid conflict; hunter success; cooperation; family roles; knowledge of language; hard work; humor; humility; respect for elders; spirituality; respect for others; respect for nature; domestic skills; responsibility to tribe; and sharing.

At NANA, our traditional Iñupiaq values inform the decisions we make and the actions we take every day. It is by holding tightly to these values that we succeed.

What makes your region economically unique?
NANA lands are rich in natural resources, including copper, gold, lead, zinc, silver, and cobalt in the Ambler Mining District, Upper Kobuk, and most notably, Red Dog Mine, which continues to provide a sustainable economic base for our corporation and region since production began in 1989. Red Dog is a leader in shareholder hire, and in the last thirty years, shareholders working there have earned more than $500 million in combined income.

What do you hope the future holds for NANA?
Opportunity for our people, the continued protection and stewardship of our lands, and growth for our businesses. These priorities are directed by our mission—to improve the quality of life for our people. It’s a charge we take seriously every day.

NANA recently hosted our college interns this summer, and it’s one of my favorite times of year. Seeing our young shareholders gain valuable work experience is always a striking reminder that our youth are our future leaders, and we must ensure our corporation is positioned for success for generations to come.

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation

In Alaska, ASRC is basically synonymous with the North Slope. The for-profit corporation is owned by and represents the business interests of some 13,000 Iñupiat shareholders in villages in Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Utqiaġvik, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Anaktuvuk Pass. The majority of ASRC’s shareholders call Alaska home, and about half live on the North Slope—living, working, and raising their families, continuing the traditions of generations of Iñupiat before them.

ASRC owns title to about 5 million acres of land on the North Slope, which “contain a high potential for oil, gas, coal, and base metal sulfides.”

One facet of ASRC’s mission is to balance management of cultural resources with management of natural resources. As part of that mission, ASRC and its family of companies have diversified over the years under the leadership of President and CEO Rex A. Rock Sr. The company operates in six business segments: government services, energy support services, industrial services, petroleum refining and marketing, construction, and resource development.

A few years ago, ASRC’s board of directors and executive management team formed a 2018-2023 Strategic Plan designed to grow and diversify ASRC’s core base of businesses through integration and “ambitious benchmark goals including our overarching measure of success to become one of the top 100 largest private companies in the United States.”

The ultimate goal is to provide the greatest amount of benefit to the greatest number of shareholders, and our Pillar Strategies describe how we are focusing our efforts to maximize shareholder impact.”

The three pillars of ASRC’s strategic growth plan are: financial performance; shareholder and employee growth; and community economic development.

ASRC says its core values form the foundation of its success as a community partner and as a company: “spirituality, respect for each other, our culture as Iñupiat, high performance, stewardship, our business relationships, resolution of conflict and integrity.”

The company states: “Iñupiaq know hard work at a cultural level. In our faces, you can see the strength, determination, and inventiveness that flows from the very roots of our Iñupiaq culture.”

ASRC is deeply involved in philanthropic efforts and over the past three years has donated more than $20 million in charitable contributions to organizations including the Alaska School Activities Association, Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the University of Alaska Anchorage ANCAP and ANSEP programs.

Sealaska

Sealaska is owned by more than 22,000 Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian shareholders who “draw inspiration from our shared heritage to protect our community’s greatest and most important resources—the oceans, forests, and people of Southeast Alaska.”

It operates core businesses in natural resources and land management, environmental services, and sustainable foods. Sealaska’s $700 million business portfolio operates under a formula designed to create both “profit and pride.” The company states, “To improve our air and water quality, we sustainably manage our forests—including preserving nearly half of our forested lands as part of our Carbon Offset Project; protect fisheries, our seafood companies actively support sustainable fishing and seek more value per fish through innovative practices; improve the health of streams and waterways, our environmental services companies are testing water quality and solving complex hydrology challenges.”

Helmed by CEO Anthony Mallott, Sealaska provides funding and other in-kind support to “hundreds of community-based programs and institutions,” including Spruce Root, Sealaska Heritage Institute, and the Sealaska Carving Program. “We don’t see this as philanthropy. Instead, we see this as a core reason we go to work every day—to partner in creating opportunities throughout Southeast Alaska.”

The twelve Alaska Native Regional corporations have in common a multitude of characteristics, including operating profitable businesses, creating opportunities for shareholders and descendants, and implementing practices designed to ensure future generations can live and work on the same lands as their ancestors. But one thread that ties them all together is their love of and fierce commitment to the preservation of their respective cultures. While the economic contributions of the Alaska Native corporations are integral to the state’s financial health, so are the lessons they pass down from generation to generation about respect for the land, each other, and the importance learning from the past.