“For Alaska Native peoples, we have come so far and yet we have so far to go.” -Byron Mallott, Seaslaka Director, October 2010
Since time immemorial, we the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people have thrived on the land—everything began with this connection to the forest and coastlines of Southeast Alaska. This inextricable connection shapes our community and culture to this day.
After more than a century of struggling to obtain of our Native land and civil rights, in 1971, the U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the largest aboriginal land settlement in the history of the world. This legislation is an agreement between the Native peoples of Alaska and the U.S. government over ownership of land in Alaska. Instead of being forced into a reservation system, each Alaska Native is now part of a corporation that holds land ownership in order to provide for their people the way they always have.
Sealaska was formed as the Native Corporation for the Southeast Alaska region, which today is owned by more than 20,000 tribal member shareholders.
Whether you are a storyteller and culture bearer, or if you are learning about Alaska Native culture for the first time, everyone is welcome to learn more about our history. At Sealaska, we believe that understanding history is part of respecting culture—your own culture and your neighbor’s culture as well. This is the first step in shaping the kind of Alaska that we all need.