Alaska Native Corporations
Background Regional Corporation Profiles • Sources

Background

Alaska’s homegrown Native corporations are a major component of Alaska’s economy and will become an even bigger force in the future. Take 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.

In FY 2017, Alaska Native regional corporations had a combined revenue of $9.1 billion. Revenues from the Alaska Native regional corporations benefit the overall Alaska economy, providing jobs and wages that circulate throughout the state. Alaska Native regional corporations employed more than 15,000 people in the state of Alaska last year with a combined statewide payroll of more than $950 million.

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 FY 2015, Section 7(i) distributions represented $352 million in total economic activity, including an estimated 2,300 to 2,800 jobs. 

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. Alaska Native corporations cumulatively reported more than $10.5 billion in revenues in 2018 and in 2019 accounted for almost 50 percent of the rankings in the Alaska Business’ listing of the Top 49 corporations in the state. 

Alaska Regional Corporation Profiles

Ahtna, Inc.
Ahtna, Inc., owns approximately 1,528,000 acres in the Copper River Basin in east-central Alaska. Seven of the eight villages within the Ahtna region are merged with Ahtna, Inc., and all eight are federally recognized tribes. A thirteen-member board directs corporate operations. Ahtna, Inc. has more than 1,500 shareholders, of which the majority reside in the Copper River region.

Headquartered in Glennallen, Ahtna has 15 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.

In 2018, Ahtna generated more than $284 million in revenue and employed more than 1,100 (27 percent in Alaska).

The Aleut Corporation
The Aleut Corporation was established in 1972 under ANCSA. The corporation received a settlement of $19.5 million and was entitled to 70,789 acres of surface lands and 1.572 million acres of subsurface estate. 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 has more than 4,000 shareholders and currently manages and sells sand, gravel, minerals and rock aggregates as part of its subsurface rights within the region. Operations of the Aleut Corporation and its eight subsidiaries include government contracting, telecommunications, environmental remediation, fuel sales, and real estate management. The company also participates in various partnerships, joint ventures, and other business activities.

In 2018, Aleut Corporation generated $252 million in revenue and employed more than 900 (13 percent in Alaska). 

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
Based in Barrow with administrative and subsidiary offices in Anchorage and throughout the world, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) has title to nearly five million acres of land abundant in natural resources in northern Alaska. In addition to oil and gas potential, ASRC lands include one of the world’s largest bituminous coal deposits.

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 15,000 people worldwide (23 percent in Alaska), and has a growing shareholder population of more than 13,000. 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.

ASRC’s strong financial performance enabled the company to declare dividends totaling more than $1 billion through 2017. By the year 2000, ASRC had achieved the goal of earning $1 billion in revenues and reached the $2 billion milestone in 2008. In 2015, that number exceeded $2.5 billion and a whopping $3.4 billion in 2018. 

Bering Straits Native Corporation
Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) was formed in 1972 and has approximately 6,300 shareholders. The Bering Strait region encompasses the majority of Alaska's Seward Peninsula and the coastal lands of eastern Norton Sound. BSNC owns and manages nearly two million acres of subsurface estate selected by 17 Village Corporations in the region.

BSNC is headquartered in Nome. Regional operations include real estate management and development, tourism, construction, mining services and sales of rock and aggregate. The corporation has 25 subsidiaries from professional services to hardware retail and aerospace logistics services. BSNC also has an office in Anchorage, which oversees the company's government contract work. Anchorage operations also include construction and various support services for commercial clients and shareholder services.

In 2018, BSNC generated $415 million in revenue and employed more than 1,500 worldwide (27 percent in Alaska).

Bristol Bay Native Corporation
Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) was established in 1972. The Bristol Bay region is in Southwest Alaska, approximately 150 miles southwest of Anchorage, and is home to the world’s largest salmon fishery. In 2019, BBNC had approximately 10,900 Eskimo, Indian and Aleut shareholders living in the Bristol Bay region, across Alaska and throughout the U.S. and the world. BBNC’s board of directors is comprised of 12 members, of which all are shareholders.

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. 

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 2019 were nearly $1.7 billion. BBNC and its subsidiaries employ approximately 4,000 people worldwide (40 percent in Alaska).

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 more than $244 million in shareholder dividends since 1979.

Calista Corporation
Calista Corporation is owned by more than 29,000 Yup'ik, Cup'ik and Athabascan shareholders with ancestral ties to southwest Alaska. Under the terms of ANCSA, the corporation received rights to 6.5 million acres of subsurface land, about 300,000 acres of surface estate and $80 million of initial capital.

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 $575 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 Alaska Corporation (CAC) is headquartered in Anchorage. CAC has nearly 6,000 employees worldwide (18 percent in Alaska). More than 2,500 shareholders of Aleut, Eskimo and Indian heritage elect the members of CAC’s Board of Directors (all of whom are Alaska Natives).

CAC 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, CAC provides business services in the areas of general construction and construction management, civil engineering, oil and gas services, educational services, environmental/oil spill response services, information technology, telecommunications, employment services and manufacturing services. 

In 2018, CAC generated $949 million in revenue.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) is owned by more than 8,800 shareholders of Athabascan and Southeast Indian, Inupiat, Yup’ik, Alutiiq and Aleut descent. CIRI based in Anchorage and has interests across Alaska, the United States and abroad.

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, renewable energy, 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 in the Cook Inlet region. It is developing alternative energy resources on its land, including a commercial-scale wind farm on Fire Island three miles offshore from Anchorage. The corporation generated nearly $514 million in revenue in 2018 and has paid out more than $1 billion in cumulative dividend distributions to CIRI shareholders, since the company’s inception.

CIRI has 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.

Doyon Limited
With the land entitlement of 12.5 million acres, Doyon is the largest private landowner in Alaska and is one of the largest private landowners in North America. Its lands extend from the Brooks Range in the north to the Alaska Range in the south. The Alaska-Canada border is Doyon’s eastern border and the western portion almost reaches the Norton Sound.

In 2019, Doyon had over 20,000 shareholders and its headquarters is 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 holds prospective gas resources in the Nenana Basin and 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 generated more than $310 million in revenues in 2018 and had more than 1,000 people employed worldwide (69 percent in Alaska).

Koniag Incorporated
Koniag has land holdings across the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island and Afognak Island. Koniag's original share of the ANCSA settlement was $24 million, 800 acres of land, and a "subsurface estate" of approximately 900,000 acres. 

Koniag was incorporated in 1972, to manage the land and financial assets on behalf of the corporation’s approximately 3,400 Alutiiq shareholders who originated from the Kodiak Archipelago. The corporation is headquartered in Kodiak and also maintains an office in Anchorage. In 2018, the number of shareholders has grown to approximately 3,850.

Koniag Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koniag, manages 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: government services, information technology, energy and water, natural resource development, real estate, and tourism.

In 2018, Koniag generated more than $267 million in revenue and employed 1,100 people (8 percent in Alaska).

NANA Regional Corporation
NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) is a $1.5 billion corporation with more than 13,000 employees at operations spanning the globe (32 percent in Alaska). NANA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for its more than 14,300 Inupiat shareholders by maximizing economic growth, protecting and enhancing its lands, and promoting healthy communities.

With investments ranging from the resource development industry, to facilities management and logistics, engineering and construction, information technology and government contracting, NANA’s diverse portfolio provides fiscal stability.

NANA manages the surface and subsurface rights to more than 2.2 million acres of land in Northwest Alaska covering 38,000 square miles, 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. Exploration and development are 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 three 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 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), a leader in engineering and construction, resource development, facilities management and logistics, real estate and hotel development, and information technology and telecommunications.

Sealaska Corporation
Sealaska is owned by more than 22,000 tribal member shareholders and guided by its traditions of environmental stewardship and positively impacting its communities. Sealaska is headquartered in Juneau and shareholders are primarily Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian descent. 

Sealaska is a diverse company with a $700 million business portfolio, including investments in forest products and marketing, silviculture and sustainable land management practices, financial investments, environmental services, government and commercial services, carbon sequestration, and sustainable foods.

The corporation generated $430 million in revenues in 2018. 

Sources

  • Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
  • Ahtna, Inc.
  • The Aleut Corporation
  • Bering Straits Native Corporation
  • Bristol Bay Native Corporation
  • Calista Corporation
  • Chugach Alaska Corporation
  • Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
  • Doyon Limited
  • Koniag Inc.
  • NANA Regional Corporation
  • Sealaska Corporation 
  • Association of ANCSA Regional Corporation Presidents/CEOs
  • Alaska Business