On Friday, a coalition representing the 5 native communities released maps identifying land they hope to obtain through a new settlement. Alaska Natives from Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee Springs and Wrangell were not given land or the opportunity to set up village corporations when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was passed in 1971. Now some people from the communities are pushing for legislation that would cede land from the federal government and allow them to set up their own corporations.
23,000 acres have been selected for Alaska Natives in Haines. The majority of the land selections lie within the Tongass National Forest at the southernmost end of the borough near Excursion Inlet. There are also some selections near William Henry Bay and Berners Bay.
Alaska’s representatives in Washington D.C. have supported bills in the past that would convey land to the so-called landless communities. So far no legislation has made it very far through congress.