Watch: New documentary tells story of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act


A documentary produced by the Ted Stevens Foundation captures the oral history of the most significant bill shaping the destiny of Alaska since the Alaska Statehood Act.

“50 Years of Promise: The Beginning of ANCSA” was edited by Cale Green and Sockeye Red Services, with support from the Atwood Foundation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The film features interviews with Ron Birch, Julie Fate-Sullivan, Willie Hensley, Marlene Johnson, Oliver Leavitt, Guy Martin, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Marie Matsuno Nash, Ben Stevens, and Congressman Don Young. The 30-minute documentary is narrated by Tara Sweeney, who served as the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the Trump Administration.

Alaska became a state on Jan. 3, 1959, but the claims to the land clearly belonged with those inhabiting it, and there needed to be a settlement with those people. Dec. 18 marked the 50th anniversary of the ANCSA, which created a series of Native corporations, land grants, and cash that would allow the building of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, and the oil wealth that followed.

For another resource on the history of ANCSA, check out the 1998 “Between Worlds” special report by the Juneau Empire under the leadership of Publisher John Winters and Editor Suzanne Downing and funded by former Empire owner Billy Morris III.

Reporters Lori Thomson, Cathy Brown, Svend Holst and photographers Brian Wallace and Michael Penn spent the summer traveling the state in search of the story of ANCSA and its impact on the Native people of Alaska. That report is now included in the Alaska history course at the Alaska Humanities Forum:

Between Worlds, a Special Report


  1. You mention that ‘land grants’ were created from the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

    Thank you for stating that.

    It is true.

    Land Grants were in fact created and transferred.

    Land was granted TO the State and Federal Government FROM the Alaska Native People.

  2. Its just another resource repeating what alaskans already ought to know if they regulary visited the alaskan collections and read! How much money was wasted to REPRODUCE something already with thousands of publications available for public reading.

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