Courtesy Native American Rights Fund
Katie John at Butzulnetas fish camp.

The Katie John Case: A Century Wait Is Too Long for Fair Shake

Mark Trahant

I was re-reading some of the work of Tom Richards Jr. after I had heard he had died this week. Richards covered the action in Congress that led to ANCSA for the Tundra Times. “Let's turn it around and look at the real situation,” he wrote. “The natives are being forced to give up their land under the traditional American principle of manifest destiny and all they’re asking is a fair shake.”

Thirteen years ago, at a conference looking back at ANCSA Richards predicted that it was possible that it “may take 100 years or more to resolve some issues, such as land title conveyances and establishing management regimes to govern land use and management of fish and game resources.” He said the unintended consequences “include ongoing disputes over subsistence rights because of the ANCSA provision extinguishing Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights, confusion about Alaska Native tribal status because ANCSA is silent on this issue, and deep-rooted controversy involving some Native corporations because of varied shareholder expectations and desires which sometimes have fostered chaotic management shifts.”

It shouldn’t take a century for Alaska Natives to get a fair shake.

Mark Trahant is the 20th Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a journalist, speaker and Twitter poet and is a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Comment on Facebook at:


You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



rockymissouri's picture
Submitted by rockymissouri on
Yet another article I read with a heavy heart...and much sadness.