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Home  >  History and Culture  >  Ancsa at 30  >  Lecture Series
Lecture Series, Number Four
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Moderator: Tom Richards

Panelists: Willie Hensley, Mary Kapsner, E. Lee Gorsuch, William Van Ness

Dr. Jeanne Eder: Hello, my name is Jeanne Eder. I am the director of Alaska Native Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This is my first year here, and one of the things I want to learn about is the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. So, welcome to the fourth and final ANCSA Revisited seminar sponsored by the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Native Studies.

Our goals for this seminar series were simple -- to educate people about ANCSA, to listen to those who were involved in its formation, to videotape speakers for future classes and for a library collection. Fourth, to assist in completing Tom Richards' book so it can be used in our ANCSA classes.

This seminar is devoted to Albert Kaloa, chief of Tyonek, strong supporter. We dedicated this seminar to him because of his financial support for the creation of Alaska Federation of Natives.

The topic for this seminar is formation of the different corporations. Our speakers are Representative Mary Kapsner for her youthful perspective of the future of ANCSA and its legacy; and Chancellor Lee Gorsuch, who has been chancellor of UAA since July of 1994. At the time of ANCSA, Chancellor Gorsuch was a consultant for Robert Nathan and Associates, who were economic advisors to AFN. We also welcome Bill Van Ness, who at the time of the passage of ANCSA, served as special counsel and chief counsel to the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee of the United States Senate under then Chairman Senator Henry M. Jackson; and Willie Hensley from Kotzebue, Alaska, whose graduate seminar paper, What Rights to Land Have Alaska Natives? sparked the Native people of Alaska to assert the land claims rights that subsequently led to ANCSA.

We would like to thank these people for the success of our four seminars: Koniag, Henry M. Jackson Foundation; Sam Kito for his personal contribution; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation; Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; First Alaskans Foundation; Klukwan, Inc.; NANA Regional Corporation; Natives of Kodiak, Inc.; Sheateeka, Inc.; UAA Vice Chancellor, Susan Ruddy, for her own personal contribution; Chugach Alaska Corporation; Alaska Newspapers; Julie Kitka, for her vision, and UAA Chancellor Gorsuch for his willingness to act on it; and staff of the vice chancellor's office. Also, the Alaska Native Studies Committee of Irene Rowan and Tom Richards and Edgar Blatchford, and the Alaska Native Studies Administrative Assistant Penny Golden and her husband Dan Golden, who has given up his time on weekends to assist Penny in every way from clean-up to hauling chairs and tables.

Our moderator is Tom Richards. I first met him when I planned to do this seminar back in September of 2001. He's an Inupiaq from Kotzebue. From December of 1965 to November of 1969, he was a staff writer for the Tundra Times newspaper. He covered the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In 1970 he became a congressional intern for Representative Nick Begich. In 1970, he worked for Tundra Times again. His years of experience in working with people and events have given him a perspective that I hope will culminate in a book.

I would like to read a statement that a student wrote about Tom. "Tom Richards is a very respectable man in my book. He has accomplished so much in such a short time. I hope more people in the future will have the same incentive as he does and are just as successful. I sure hope I am," student Kimberly Curtis.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to our moderator, Tom Richards.

Tom Richards: Thank you, Dr. Eder; University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Gorsuch; folks with the Native Studies Department; my cohorts, Irene Sparks Rowan, Edgar Blatchford and Penny Golden and her husband, Dan, for their support in motivating us all this time. I think Jeanne, Dr. Eder, covered the sponsors. I know there are many others who have contributed.

We would like to also acknowledge participation of the students throughout the series. That's who we're doing this for. We're essentially talking to the future. I was thinking this morning about the actual 30th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, back in December. To commemorate the anniversary, the University and Cook Inlet Region and AFN and several other Native organizations took out a full-page ad in the Anchorage Daily News to recognize 355 individuals as principals who advocated and worked for the passage of the Claims Settlement Act. Out of those 355, over half -- 160 -- have passed on. I'm really grateful that we're all still here kicking and having a chance to visit with each other. We're talking to the future -- talking to the people we're working on behalf of -- to hopefully create an economic future and a decent social organization and to maintain the culture of our people.

The final panel, panel four, of this lecture series is dedicated to Chief Albert Kaloa, Jr. of Tyonek. Without his assistance and his contributions, we most likely would have not had the timely creation of the Alaska Federation of Natives. I'd like to call upon Emil Notti, the founding president of AFN, to come up and talk to us a little bit about Chief Kaloa and his involvement.

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