February 24, 2009

Alaska Natives = business successes

Native contributions to Alaska economy are significant

COMPASS:  Other points of viewEagle River Senator Fred Dyson's recent commentary in the Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Natives thrived before the coming of the white man," was a surprisingly positive essay from a conservative who often opposes legislation and funding to help rural, generally Native, Alaskans. So "good on" the senator for reminding all Alaskans about the skill and intelligence Native Alaskans have always demonstrated in living here.

It was an enlightening piece as far as it went, but it left the reader wondering if Native people had accomplished anything else worth noting since European contact in 1741. Today Alaska Native people are contributing to Alaska in ways few non-Natives appreciate.

The most significant accomplishment by Native people in modern-day Alaska was the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the most successful aboriginal land claims settlement in history. The Act allowed the construction of the trans Alaska oil pipeline enabling Alaska's oil and gas industry to thrive, and it created a broad array of successful, Alaska-based, Native-owned companies.

In 2006 the thirteen ANCSA regional corporations and top three village corporations brought $6.965 billion into the Alaska economy as revenue, according to the ANCSA Regional Association's 2006 Economic Report. ... The Alaska Business Monthly Top 49ers list in 2008 showed 18 of the top 49 Alaska-owned companies as Native-owned businesses. Native companies on the list made up 78 percent of the total employees and 57 percent of the employees working in Alaska. Sixty-six percent of all the revenue earned by Top 49 companies was earned by Native corporations.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Eskimos:  The Ultimate Aborigines.

Below:  In contrast to this report, here's the typical American view of Alaska Natives:

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