Alaska’s homegrown Native corporations are a major component of Alaska’s economy and will become an even bigger force in the future. One look around the state and it’s easy to see the importance of Native corporations to each region they represent and the state as a whole. From Southeast Alaska and the Aleutians to Interior Alaska and the North Slope, these corporations own some of the state’s largest enterprises and are among the largest employers of Alaskans.
Out of the top 49 companies in Alaska, the twelve regional Native corporations and several village corporations employ 58,000 people worldwide, with about 16,000 of those jobs here in Alaska. What that shows is a lot of the business these companies are now doing is outside Alaska, and that it brings revenue back to our state. Many of the Native corporations are engaged in the development of our natural resources, but are also diversifying their operations into other business ventures both inside and outside the state..
In 1971, the U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). ANCSA divided Alaska into 12 geographic regions. Alaska Natives then organized a “Regional Corporation” for each region. Those corporations were authorized to select lands that would become their fee simple property. Each region also contains numerous smaller “Village Corporations,” about 225 in all. The village corporations selected the surface lands around their villages. ANCSA required every corporation to be organized under Alaska law. In addition, a 13th Regional Corporation was subsequently formed for non-resident Alaska Natives.
Congress enacted ANCSA in order to provide a means by which Alaska Natives could derive economic benefits from the resources around them. Native corporations are the largest private landowners in Alaska, with title to 44 million acres of selected land throughout the state. Development of the resources beneath their lands offers Native corporations an opportunity to generate jobs and other economic benefits for their Native shareholders, and fulfill the implicit promise Congress made to Alaska Natives in exchange for extinguishment of their aboriginal claims.
A growing number of Alaska Native corporations are fulfilling ANCSA’s economic goals by partnering with Alaska’s resource industries in development projects across the state. These partnerships are helping to make ANCSA’s economic promise to Alaska Natives become a reality. In the villages, life has been marked by seasonal jobs, high unemployment and welfare. The corporations are working to change this by developing their resources and seizing upon other economic opportunities. When Congress passed ANCSA, it recognized that the economic potential of the lands selected by Native corporations would not be uniformly distributed.
As a result, ANCSA contains a natural resource revenue-sharing provision: Section 7(i). This section is intended to achieve a rough equality in assets among all Alaska Natives. The section insures that all of the Alaska Natives will benefit in roughly equal proportions from these assets. Under 7(i), 70 percent of all revenues received by each Regional Corporation from timber and subsurface estate resources must be divided among all 12 Regional Corporations in proportion to the number of Alaska Natives enrolled in each region. At least 50 percent of the revenues received must be redistributed among the Village Corporations.
Section 7(i) mandates that when mineral or timber resources are developed on Native Corporation land, all 100,000 ANCSA Native shareholders benefit. More than one billion dollars has been distributed among the Regional Corporations under Section 7(i). In 2011 alone, $172 million in mining industry payments to Native Corporations were made, with over $82 million of it redistributed to other regional and village corporations.
Alaska Native leaders consider the act as the biggest minority success story of the nation. The regional corporations have not only become a major economic force in Alaska’s economy, they have concerned themselves with the real economic and social needs of Alaska Natives.
In the 21st Century, business is booming for Alaska's native businesses. Thanks to high commodity prices, growth in the government and commercial contracting sector, and strong returns on investments elsewhere, these corporations cumulatively reached $11.3 billion in revenues in 2010. According to this most recent available data, the 12 Regional Corporations alone earned $8.1 billion in 2010.
Alaska Native Corporations listed in the Alaska Business Monthly 2010 Top 49 corporations accounted for 74 percent of the total revenue earned, 64 percent of the total Alaska jobs, and 84 percent of all the employees working for those 49 companies. Native companies make a critical contribution to the employment of all Alaskans and to the economic diversification of the state.
“Economic statistics alone do not capture the full essence of how ANCSA has dramatically improved the lives of Alaska Native people,” said Will Anderson, President of the ANCSA Regional Association.
Headquartered in Glennallen, Alaska, Ahtna is committed to providing a broad range of opportunities for its shareholders and preserving their culture.
Ahtna has 14 operating subsidiaries that are involved in government contracting, civil and vertical construction, pipeline maintenance, environmental remediation, surveying, facilities maintenance, administrative and janitorial services, and food service contractors.
The Corporation's efforts focus on growth and diversification, as well as management of its land, mineral and human resources.
The Aleut Corporation
Most of the Corporation’s ANCSA selections are on the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian, Shumagin, and Pribilof Islands, situated between Port Moller and the Alaska Peninsula and the western tip of Atka Island. The corporation owns the village site of Attu as well as numerous historical and cemetery sites between Atka and the Alaska Peninsula.
The Aleut Corporation currently manages and sells sand, gravel, minerals and rock aggregates as part of its subsurface rights within the region.
The Corporation’s primary areas of business are real estate, government operations and maintenance contracting, aggregate sales, and investments in oil and gas producing properties and marketable securities.
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
ASRC represents eight villages on the North Slope of Alaska; Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Barrow, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik and Anaktuvuk Pass. This natural resource based corporation employs nearly 10,000 people, and has a growing shareholder population of 11,000. A founding principle of ASRC is respect for and preservation of the Inupiat heritage.
The ASRC family of companies extends into the professional fields of engineering, venture capital and financial management, oil and gas support services, petroleum refining and distribution, aerospace engineering, consulting, civil construction, and communications.
Since incorporation, ASRC’s strong financial performance enabled the company to declare dividends totaling over $500 million through 2010.
Bering Straits Native Corporation
BSNC is headquartered in Nome. Regional operations include real estate management and development, tourism, construction, mining services and sales of rock and aggregate. BSNC also has an office in Anchorage which oversees the company's government contract work under the SBA's 8(a), HubZone and small business programs. Anchorage operations also include construction and various support services for commercial clients and shareholder services.
Bristol Bay Native Corporation
BBNC owns nearly three million acres of sub-surface land in the Bristol Bay region. The BBNC land department provides assistance to the village corporations in their efforts to manage their surface estates, and advocates on behalf of other economic development opportunities in the region. BBNC is a strong supporter of Responsible Resource Development.
Key assets include an investment portfolio and over 30 operating subsidiary companies, specializing in petroleum distribution, construction, government services, and oilfield and industrial services. The company does business in Alaska and throughout the U.S. and the world. Gross revenue for fiscal year 2011 were $1.7 billion. BBNC and its subsidiaries employ approximately 3,900 people worldwide.
BBNC provides consistent shareholder equity through quarterly dividends, training and education scholarship funding, community and cultural contributions, Elder benefit distributions and burial assistance. It has provided over $100 million in shareholder dividends since 1979.
Since Calista was formed in 1972, the corporation has matured by developing a diverse business and investment portfolio with subsidiaries specializing in a number of industries, including oil well work-over drilling, construction, government and military contracting, public relations services, property management, catering and camp services, telecommunications, heavy equipment sales, construction and royalties from gold and construction material mining. Annual corporate revenues from this diversified portfolio are in excess of $200 million.
Although most of Calista’s 6.5 million acre land entitlement was selected by the region’s Village Corporations for the subsistence resource value of the surface estate, several hundred thousand acres were selected primarily for subsurface mineral resource potential, which is demonstrated by a history of mineral production, including gold, mercury and platinum. These mineral lands include a number of placer gold properties, and adjacent hard rock gold and platinum prospects.
Chugach Alaska Corporation
Chugach is globally recognized as a premier provider of base operations and facilities maintenance services. Its proven track record of delivering cost-saving, award-winning services to its commercial clients and the federal government has earned the corporation recognition as a leader in its industry.
In addition to its core businesses of Base Operations and Facilities Maintenance, other Chugach subsidiaries provide business services in the areas of General Construction & Construction Management; Civil Engineering; Oil & Gas Services; Educational Services; Environmental/Oil Spill Response Services; Information Technology; Telecommunications; Employment Services; Manufacturing Services. CAC subsidiaries also have expertise in: Providing complete project services and construction of commercial and government facilities; Providing full scope of Information Technology services including network security and monitoring; Operating the best trained and equipped oil spill response organization in the world; Recognized for excellence in providing training and maintenance for the U.S. Department of Labor Job Corps Programs; Proven history of success in operating in extremely remote locations including the Western Pacific Islands, Canada, Africa, Spain and Turkey.
Chugach has been recognized as an industry leader for offering exceptional value and customer service. Chugach provides cost-saving, award-winning services to the government while maximizing benefits to the American taxpayer.
Chugach focuses on providing meaningful benefits - employment opportunities, educational assistance, and cultural conservation – to shareholders to fulfill the intent of ANCSA and preserve the culture of the Chugach people for future generations.
Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
CIRI’s well-diversified business portfolio includes energy and resource development, oilfield and heavy construction services, commercial and retail real estate development and management, environmental remediation services, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, telecommunications, aerospace defense, private equity, venture capital and marketable securities investments.
CIRI is Southcentral Alaska’s largest private landowner and has 1.3 million acres of subsurface available for responsible gas, oil and mineral leasing. It is developing alternative energy resources on CIRI land including a commercial-scale wind farm on Fire Island three miles offshore from Anchorage and an underground coal gasification project west of Cook Inlet.
CIRI also created a family of nonprofit service organizations that provide needed health care, housing, employment, education and other social and cultural enrichment services for Alaska Natives and others.
Today Doyon has over 18,000 shareholders and its headquarters are located in Fairbanks.
Doyon Drilling is the corporation’s largest subsidiary, producing more than half of the corporation’s revenues. The subsidiary is actively engaged in arctic drilling activity on the North Slope. Doyon is a partner in a gas exploration project in the Nenana Basin and the corporation also holds prospective gas resources in the Yukon Flats.
Doyon’s family of companies provide a wide range of services, including catering, facility maintenance, security, tourism and support for oil, gas and mining construction across Alaska. Doyon also manages real estate assets and has operations in the tourism industry.
Doyon's mission is to continually enhance its position as a financially strong Native corporation in order to promote the economic and social well being of its shareholders and future shareholders, to strengthen the Native way of life, and to protect and enhance its land and resources.
Koniag's approach to business has evolved to meet new challenges, expanding opportunities and the needs of its shareholders. Koniag Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koniag, operates as Koniag's business arm, managing most of the corporation’s real estate holdings and business operations, including oversight of nearly a dozen subsidiaries.
The work performed by the Koniag family of companies is grouped into six broad categories: Operations and Maintenance, Environmental Services, Logistics, Information Technology, Consulting, and Manufacturing.
Koniag’s real estate portfolio is comprised of office buildings, warehouses, apartment buildings, hotels and vacant land, with geographic diversity in Alaska, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. Koniag’s share of ownership in these properties ranges from less than 10 percent to 100 percent.
NANA Regional Corporation
NANA manages the surface and subsurface rights to more than 2.2 million acres of land in northwest Alaska covering 38,000 square miles, or an area roughly the size of Indiana. The corporation protects and responsibly develops these lands to directly benefit its shareholders. As one of the largest unexplored basins in North America, the subsurface of the land of the NANA region is mineral-rich and the company is working with partners to unlock its potential. All exploration and development is conducted in alignment with NANA’s guiding principles on subsistence to protect the Inupiat way-of-life.
NANA also has stake in the Red Dog Mine, located in the Delong Mountain Range 90 miles north of Kotzebue. The mine is situated on NANA lands and operated by Teck Alaska. For more than two decades, Red Dog Mine, one of the world’s largest zinc and lead mines, has stood as a model of responsible resource development founded on the principles of consensus, cooperation, and mutual respect between a mining company and indigenous people. The mine was developed in 1982 under an innovative operating agreement and NANA shareholders receive direct and meaningful benefits from development at the mine.
NANA Regional Corporation’s subsidiary is NANA Development Corporation (NDC). Founded in 1974, NDC is a leader in engineering and construction; resource development; facilities management and logistics; real estate and hotel development; and information technology and telecommunications.
Sealaska is headquartered in Juneau, Alaska and Sealaska tribal member shareholders are primarily Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian descent.
Sealaska is a diverse company with investments in forest products and marking, silviculture and land management, financial investments, fabrication, plastics injection molding and manufacturing, information technology, construction aggregates, environmental remediation and consulting, logistics, construction and security services in Alaska and around the world.
The 13th Regional Corporation
Prior to the ruling, the 4,537 persons who were later to become 13th Regional Corporation shareholders were all designated as shareholders in one of the other 12, regional corporations. The corporation began with 4,537 shareholders, and had about 5,500 in 2009.
The 13th Regional Corporation was created to represent those Natives who do not reside in the State of Alaska. The corporation did not receive land as a resource for their shareholders and doesn’t share in the resource profits of the other corporations.
The 13th Regional Corporation, formerly headquartered in Washington, ceased operations in 2009 and remains insolvent. Current data is not available.