Return to Part III – Current land, villages corporation issues and events

Unit 10 – Village corporations

The village corporations were quite different from the regionals and had eligibility requirements based on population numbers. A village needed to have had at least 25 residents listed in the 1970 census in order to be eligible to form a corporation under ANCSA, and the acreage allotted to each village corporation was also decided based on population numbers. Start-up of a village corporation was even more difficult than getting the regional corporation up and running and was dependent in large part on the parent regional. The village corporation had to present its initial plans of incorporation to the regional for approval, and any changes made to this plan during the first five years or operation had to go through the regional.

Learning Objectives:
Upon the completion of Module 10 a student will be able to

  1. Describe the differences between an ANCSA regional and ANCSA village corporation.
  2. Describe the requirements that made a village eligible to form an ANCSA corporation.
  3. Describe at least two village corporations that met with special obstacles in their formations.

Reading Assignment:

  1. Holding Our Ground, sections 11,12, and 13. Online at
  2. Bartz Englishoe Village Corporations webpage. Online at
  3. “We Own the Land,’ William Paul Sr. Online at
    This reading has been inserted here, not because it has specific reference to village corporations, but because it will complement professor Brower’s stance on land ownership, and is also a useful reminder of the real extent of the original land claims.
  4. Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation webpage. Online at
  5. Mitchell, Ch. 5 pp. 388-438

Lecture Notes:
If professional management expertise and business opportunities were in short supply at the regional corporation this shortfall was magnified at the village level. The regional corporations were able to locate their headquarters in urban locations where they could begin to take advantage of business opportunities and could access services, but few of the village corporations were in any position to do this. Viable business opportunities simply did not exist in many villages, and those that did have options found them extremely limited. Cultural norms and expectations frequently got in the way of western business practices, and made development very difficult.

In spite of this some village corporations thrived and have been extremely successful. Others adopted strategies for success that included merging with neighboring village corporations or with the regional corporation itself. A few villages turned some of their land over to the tribal government to help that entity to function better and to protect the land from future development or outright loss through sale. Some village corporations opened offices in urban locations and focused on investment opportunities that would bring cash to their shareholders rather than local development. Some are only now beginning to develop revenue streams and a few are simply not functioning at all.

Relationships with regional corporations vary; some regionals have provided excellent ongoing support for the villages from the beginning. Others have had adversarial relationships between village and regional and have had to resort to the courts for resolution. If you look at the Bart Englishoe webpage ( you will see which villages have merged with others and be able to investigate the websites of some of them to see what they are doing today.

The speakers in Unit 10 each provide information on a village corporation from a very different perspective. They have experienced varying challenges and successes resulting in varying levels of corporate function today. They give you a chance to see how much variance there is between one village corporation and another; keep in mind that every village had unique experiences with ANCSA.

Study Questions:
This unit discusses the village corporations and their formation and start-up. Do you think the village corporations have brought benefits to the villages they represent?  What about younger Alaska Natives who were excluded from enrollment in ANCSA and are not shareholders today? Are they obtaining any benefit from the village corporation in their community?

Video and Audio files for this unit are located here

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Images for Unit 10

Media for Unit 10

1. Alfred Ketzler, Sr. — ANCSA village corporations 2. Dixie Masak Dayo — Starting a small village corporation and learning provisions of ANCSA — Part 1-2 3. Ronald Brower — Implementing ANCSA on the Arctic Slope — Part 1 -3 4. Ruth Ridley — Personal perspectives on ANCSA and village corporations 5. Linda Evans — …