Until 1971, the issue of land ownership in Alaska was divisive. Oil was discovered on Alaska's North Slope and Alaska Native peoples, including the Iñupiat of Northwest Alaska, worried about maintaining rights to traditional lands and the ability to protect their valuable subsistence resources. The passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (or ANCSA) helped resolve many of the issues surrounding land rights.
ANCSA created 12 regions of the state (a 13th was added later) and the state and Alaska Native groups worked together to select lands for each region. Each of these regions formed a for-profit corporation to manage these land rights.
Today, NANA owns 2.28 million acres, or approximately 9.4 percent of the 24.3 million acres that comprise the NANA region. The lands encompass an area that is roughly the size of Indiana.
In 1976, a merger of the area’s regional corporation and ten of the eleven village corporations resulted in NANA’s ownership of both the surface and subsurface acreage, with the exception of the surface acreage Kikiktagruk Iñupiat Corporation (KIC) retained.
The land selection and conveyance process is now largely completed, but the work of the Lands Department continues to ensure that our rights are never again in question.