Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

74 in these corporations was given to every member of the indigenous tribes of Alaska at that time. Tribal villages were then incorporated to be able to transfer land, funds, and other resources from the federal government and the regional corporations (Chaffee, 2008). ANCSA is unique in that it transforms the ANC into a modern business structure that prioritizes both economic and social objectives. The bottom-line goal of these regional operations is twofold: first, to be financially successful, and, second, to improve the welfare of their Alaska Native stakeholders. Congress passed ANCSA as a vehicle for social enterprises that may influence the creation of future corporations that function both as businesses and as impact-driven organizations. A vital aspect of the success of ANCSA has been the ongoing process of adapting the settlement as new socioeconomic factors emerge and Alaska Native circumstances evolve. As a result, Alaska has adopted an adaptive governance approach for programs and policies involving ANCSA (Chaffee, 2008). Congress emphasized the urgency of the settlement, noting that it should be enacted “rapidly, with certainty, in conformity with the real economic and social needs of Natives, without litigation, [and] with maximum participation by Natives in decisions affecting their rights and property…without establishing any permanent racially defined institutions, rights, privileges, or obligations, [and] without creating a reservation system or lengthy wardship or trusteeship” (ANCSA, 1971). ANCSA mandated the creation of corporations (later referred to as ANCs) at the regional and local levels, with the intent that Native American communities reap the rewards of the settlement. The act also bestowed the right of the federal government and regional corporations to transfer lands, funds, and other resources to the more localized village corporations. ANCs operate as for-profit corporations with the total capacity to pass amendments, make resolutions, and allow mergers between separate regional corporations. As a result, the act accords the full rights and responsibilities of a corporation to each ANC. The Alaska Native Corporation Model Not only did ANCSA provide land titles to Alaska Natives, but also it was designed to tackle the economic challenges of local communities. ANCSA did so through the creation of regional and village corporations that would offer opportunities for employment and wealth creation for the Alaska Natives (Davis, 2007). Section 1606(a) incorporated 12 Native regional corporations based on geographical and cultural considerations. Section 1606(c) established a thirteenth regional corporation for Alaska Natives who do not reside in the state. Each Alaska Native who was alive on December 18, 1971, was entitled to 100 shares of the regional corporation that governed where the individual resided. Alaska Natives then received 100 shares of the stock of the ANCs. Village corporations received the surface title, while regional corporations had rights to the subsurface title (discussed later) (ANCSA, 1971). In 2004, the ANCs had a combined total revenue of over $4.4B and distributed more than $117M in shareholders’ dividends. Moreover, by 2010, another report estimated the combined revenue of ANCs to be $8.2B. It cannot be overstated that 7 of the 10 most profitable businesses in Alaska are ANCs. ANCSA is an exceptional case compared to other Native American land settlements. ANCs are owned by approximately 111,000 Alaska Native shareholders in villages. In addition to regional corporations, the second tier of ANCs created 200 Native villages with at least 25 residents. ANCs lack some of the governmental powers that tribes in the rest of the United States sometimes have. In Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (1998), the Supreme Court ruled that the land held by ANCs no longer was considered “Indian Country.” In lay terms, the ANCs cannot tax businesses and individuals in their land and must follow Alaska corporate law. Although the Native Alaskans were new to this kind of governance structure and lacked guidance regarding Alaska Native fish and wildlife claims, Alaska Natives successfully used ANCSA to advance regional and tribal interests by maintaining their traditional values and economic livelihood. However, the ambiguity in the definition of Indian Country still needs to be resolved. ANCSA corporate enrollment was based on proof of residency in 1971 and depended on place of birth or family heritage. Alaska Natives could enroll in either a regional or village