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Sarah Palin and Alaska Natives- Part 1

A recent web article is worthy of some review and discussion in regards to Governor Palin’s “Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues”. It is good when substantive policy issues are referenced in the discussion of Palin. A lot of people are unaware of the importance of indigenous issues in Alaska. In the 2000 Census, 15.6% of the Alaska population listed themselves as Alaskan native or American Indian. “While over 40% of the residents live in the largest city of Anchorage, most of the rest of the state is sparsely populated or uninhabited with communities separated by vast distances. 52.3% of the state population lives in frontier areas.” This makes for a significant percentage of the population in rural regions. There are also well-established tribal governments in Alaska. “There are 562 tribal governments in the United States with 225 of them located in Alaska,” explains Paul G. Moorhead, a Federal Indian law and policy attorney with the Indian Tribal Governments Practice Group at Gardner, Carton & Douglas in Washington, D.C.”

The most significant act in recent history that impacted indigenous and Native Alaskan peoples was “in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law by the U.S. President, under which the Natives relinquished aboriginal claims to their lands.[2] In return, they received access to 44 million acres (180,000 km²) of land and were paid $963 million. The land and money were divided among regional, urban, and village corporations.”

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