Alaska Native Civics & Government High School Curriculum

Unit 1: Tribal Sovereignty- Alaska

Lesson 1: Sovereignty and the Doctrine of Discovery

Objective 1: Students understand the concept of sovereignty and apply it to their understanding of Native American tribes preexisting the colonization of the Americas and the formation of the United States, and recognize that tribal sovereignty continues to exist today.

Objective 2: Students are familiar with the concept behind the Doctrine of Discovery utilized by Christian European nations in the European colonization of the Americas and the role of Papal Bulls in the creation of the Doctrine of Discovery. Students understand the use of the Doctrine of Discovery by conquering nations as a justification for the claiming of land already occupied by indigenous people.

Objective 3: Students understand each of the 10 Elements of the Doctrine of Discovery outlined in the introduction to “Native America, Discovered and Conquered” by Robert J. Miller:
First Discovery
Actual Occupancy and Current Possession
Preemption/European Title
Indian Title (Aboriginal Title)
Tribal Limited Sovereign and Commercial Rights
Contiguity
Terra Nullius
Christianity
Civilization
Conquest

Objective 4: Students understand that the Doctrine of Discovery remains the basis for many aspects of U.S. law today. Students are familiar with the current movement to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

Lesson Ideas

Tribal Sovereignty Class Discussion: Have students write down what they believe sovereignty means, with two or three specific examples. Then have a class discussion about definitions of sovereignty, and students’ questions about sovereignty. Ask students how they believe the concept of sovereignty applies to Native American and Alaska Native tribes and discuss this topic with students. Ask students if they believe tribal sovereignty exists in the United States today and discuss amongst the class. At the end of the class discussion students should understand that tribal sovereignty does exist in the United States, and that they will be learning about how it has evolved over time with tribes’ relationship to the federal government. Use real-life examples to illustrate tribal sovereignty as it exists in the lives of Alaska Natives.
Doctrine of Discovery Vocabulary and Concept Exercise/Discussion: Have students become familiar with the following vocabulary words/terms: indigenous peoples, colonization, conquest, Christian European nations (in the context of colonialism), Age of Discovery, Papal Bulls, Doctrine of Discovery. Use an illustrative example to explain the concept of “discovery” to the students. This can be as simple as arranging with one of the students to pretend to steal one of their personal items in front of the class and claiming it as your own. Students will likely protest, and you can argue that you “discovered” the item, so it is yours. This exercise could be a segue into a class discussion about the ideas behind European “discovery” of the “New World,” the indigenous perspective that is generally left out from historical accounts and teachings about this time, and how the conquest and colonization of indigenous lands and peoples was justified through the Doctrine of Discovery.
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Doctrine of Discovery, read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/discovery/
Doctrine of Discovery Exercise: Provide students with definitions of each of the 10 Elements of the Doctrine of Discovery from “Native America, Discovered and Conquered” by Robert J. Miller, and go over the definitions with the students. Prepare a large map to use in the exercise that delineates territories of several indigenous groups in North America prior to colonization. Divide the students into groups that represent the indigenous groups on the map and several Christian European nations. Act out various scenarios with the “nations” that illustrate the elements of the Doctrine of Discovery.
Opinion Essay: Have students conduct internet research about the Doctrine of Discovery and efforts to repudiate it. After conducting research, have students write short essays explaining their views on the Doctrine of Discovery and the repudiation efforts.

Lesson 2: Marshall Trilogy

Objective 1: Students understand the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) in terms of the incorporation of the Doctrine of Discovery into case law in the United States. Students understand that through this decision, the United States is effectively filling the shoes of Britain as colonizing nation.

Objective 2: Students understand the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) in terms of the relationship between the United States government and Indian tribes. Students are familiar with the Court’s designation of tribes as “domestic dependent nations” and what this means for tribal sovereignty.

Objective 3: Students understand the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Worcester v. Georgia (1832) in terms of recognition of the sovereignty of Native American tribes.

Lesson Ideas

Context for the Marshall Trilogy: Provide a background lesson on the historical context in which the Marshall trilogy took place (in the early history of the United States after the Revolutionary War), and who Chief Justice Marshall was.
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Marshall Trilogy, read the information presented, and watch the short video clips included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/marshall-trilogy-1823-1832/
Marshall Trilogy Group Projects: Separate the class into three groups and assign each group one of the cases in the Marshall Trilogy. Provide each group with the basic facts of the case and the decision of the court and have the groups conduct internet research to fill in information, or simply assign the cases and have the groups conduct all of the research to determine the facts of the case and the decision. Have each group create a storyboard, video, or skit to illustrate their assigned case. Each production should include an explanation of what the group believes the case means for tribal sovereignty in the United States. Each group will present their production to the class, followed by a class discussion on the group’s interpretation of the rulings and their meanings for tribal sovereignty. This can be separated into three classes, with one group presenting on each day.

Lesson 3: Plenary Powers of Congress

Objective 1: Students are familiar with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commerce Clause, which provides Congress with the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Students understand how this clause was used to provide Congress with authority over Indian affairs.

Objective 2: Students understand that the power of Congress over Indian affairs was greatly expanded through interpretations of the U.S. Supreme Court to become plenary powers.

Objective 3: Students understand the meaning of plenary powers as absolute control over Indian affairs. Students understand what this means in terms of Congressional ability to pass laws concerning tribes and diminished tribal sovereignty.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the U.S. Constitution and Congress, read the information presented, and watch the short video clips included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/u-s-constitution-and-congress/
Research Report: Have students research the United States v. Kagama case and provide a written report on the background/facts of the case, the ruling, and how it illustrates the plenary powers of Congress over Indian tribes.

Lesson 4: Treaties/Indian Reservations/Indian Country

Objective 1: Students are familiar with the role of treaties in dealings between the U.S. government and tribes. Students understand that treaties are legal agreements signed between sovereign entities and are the supreme law of the land.

Objective 2: Students understand what an Indian Reservation is. Students understand that reservations are lands that are reserved by tribes from the federal government, not land granted to tribes by the federal government. Students are familiar with the different circumstances in which reservations were established, some on the traditional lands of tribes, and some involving removal from traditional lands to locations far away.

Objective 3: Students understand the role of treaties in the creation of reservations and some of the common terms involved, such as establishing treaty hunting and fishing rights in certain areas or the relinquishment of aboriginal title.

Objective 4: Students understand what Indian Country is and its importance for the ability of tribes to exercise certain sovereign powers within reservations and other lands considered to be Indian Country.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Treaties and read the information presented, and watch the short video clips included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/treaties/
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Removal and Reservations and read the information presented, and watch the short video clips included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/johnson-v-m%E2%80%99intosh-1823/
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Indian Country Statute (1948) and read the information presented. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-2/indian-country-statute-1948/
Informational Posters: Select one Indian Reservation for each student in the class to research (make sure that there is enough information available on the internet about each reservation to conduct this assignment). Have the students develop posters on their assigned reservation, including a map of the reservation and information on the tribe it is associated with, some history behind the tribe and the reservation (whether or not removal was involved), and information on treaties that may have been signed between the tribe and the federal government. Hang the posters up in the classroom.
Class Discussion: After the posters have been completed and students have reviewed each others’ research, have a class discussion to identify some of the common themes students may have noticed about treaty terms they found, such as hunting and fishing rights and relinquishment of aboriginal title. Continue the discussion by tying in concepts introduced from the online lessons from UAF’s Tribal Management site. Another topic for discussion/instruction could be the history of the federal government not upholding its treaty obligations to tribes, which students may have found information on in their research.
Indian Country Presentations: Introduce the definition of Indian Country provided in the law, and what it means in terms of tribal jurisdiction and the ability of tribes to exercise sovereign powers. Provide examples of powers that tribes have within Indian Country, including the management of fish and game resources, gaming authority, criminal jurisdiction, etc. Have students divide into groups and conduct research on one of the aspects of the Indian Country definition: reservations (if the class has already covered reservations this can be excluded from this assignment), allotments, dependent Indian communities, and trust land. Have students prepare Power Point presentations on their research findings, including definitions of those terms and the legal context/court cases that helped to define them. Students can present as a group to the class.

Lesson 5: Federal Trust Responsibility

Objective 1: Students understand that the U.S. government has certain trust obligations to tribes and tribal members that arise from court decisions such as Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and treaties that have been signed with tribes over the years.

Objective 2: Students are familiar with the main trust responsibilities of the U.S. government toward tribes, such as protecting Indian trust lands and their rights to use those lands, protecting tribal sovereignty and rights of self-governance, and providing basic social, medical, and educational services for tribes.

Objective 3: Students understand the role of agencies such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service in fulfilling the trust responsibilities of the U.S. to tribes.

Lesson Ideas

Review of Trust Obligations to Tribes: Use the term ‘federal trust responsibility’ as a central theme in a class discussion/brainstorming session on what the students have learned about the federal government’s obligations to tribes. Write ideas and examples down on the board as students raise them until most or all of the basic trust obligations covered have been listed. If needed, remind students about the ward/guardian relationship established in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and about other obligations established through treaties such as providing for healthcare and the protection of trust land. Emphasize the underlying idea that these obligations did not arise without reason, but that tribes “paid” to have these protections in place with the relinquishment of most, if not all, of their land to the federal government.
Trust Obligations in Action- BIA: Have students conduct Internet research on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), primarily by browsing the BIA website. Have students also conduct Internet research on BIA programs and services that exist in the students’ community/region specifically. One good resource might be the website of the regional Alaska Native non-profit organization or tribal consortium (for example, in the Bering Straits region this would be Kawerak, Inc.). While browsing the websites, have students make note of the following: new information they learned about the BIA and its services, questions they have, and information/services listed on the websites that they recognize as having an impact/role in their life or community. After the browsing is complete, go around the room and have students volunteer some of their notes from each category. Another option might be having someone who works for a BIA program in the
community or region visit the classroom and present on his/her work and answer questions.
Trust Obligations in Action- IHS: Have students conduct Internet research on the Indian Health Service (IHS), primarily by browsing the IHS website. Have the students also conduct Internet research on the Alaska Native healthcare provider for their community/region (for example, in the Bering Straits region this would be the Norton Sound Health Corporation). While browsing the websites, have students make note of the following: new information they learned about the IHS and its services, questions they have about the IHS, and information/services listed on the IHS website that they recognize as having an impact/role in their life or community. After the browsing is complete, go around the room and have students volunteer some of their notes from each category.

Lesson 6: How Is Alaska Different?

Objective 1: Students understand that no treaties were signed between tribes in Alaska and the U.S. government because Congress ceased treaty making with tribes in 1871, four years after the purchase of Alaska by the United States.

Objective 2: Students know the history of reservations in Alaska, with an understanding that while no treaties were signed, reservations were established through such processes as executive order, in Alaska. Students understand that these reservations no longer exist, with the exception of the Annette Island Reserve created by Congress for the Tsimshian community of Metlakatla.

Objective 3: Students understand the significance of the lack of treaties and reservations in Alaska, and are familiar with some of the ways these differences have been used by courts to diminish the sovereignty of Alaskan tribes.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Russians in Alaska and U.S. Purchase and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/russians-in-alaska-and-u-s-purchase/
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Early Years in Alaska after Purchase and read the information presented. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-1/early-years-in-alaska-after-purchase/
Assigned Reading and Discussion: Have students read “What Rights to Land Have Alaska Natives? The Primary Question” by Willie Hensley, available at the Alaskool website: http://www.alaskool.org/projects/ancsa/wlh/WLH66_2.htm. Ask students if there were ideas or themes in the paper that they recognized from previous lessons, or if any patterns in the treatment of Alaska Natives by the federal government after the purchase of Alaska caught their attention. Present the major themes from the paper on how the situation of Alaska Natives in relation to the federal government after the purchase of Alaska was different from the relations between tribes in the lower 48 and the federal government. Include information on the context of Alaska at the time, with little government presence throughout the state other than in Southeast Alaska and less pressure to create space for colonization. Inform the students that reservations no longer exist in Alaska, with the exception of Metlakatla, and discuss the implications of the lack of Indian Country in Alaska for tribes.
Alaskan Reservations: Have students create a map of Alaska that displays reservations that have existed in the state, when and how they were created, and when and why they were discontinued. Have each student write a brief description of the stated purpose for the reservation and other pertinent details in a document to be posted in the classroom along with the map.

Unit 2: Tribal Governments- Alaska

Lesson 1: Indian Reorganization Act (IRA)/Wheeler-Howard Act

Objective 1: Students understand the context that led to the passage of the IRA, such as the U.S. government turning away from assimilationist policies and trying to alleviate the situation created by the Dawes Allotment Act. Students understand the basic intent of the IRA, which is to empower tribes.

Objective 2: Students know that the IRA was passed in 1934 and extended to Alaska in 1936. Students know that IRA reservations were created in Alaska and that about one-fourth of the tribes in Alaska adopted IRA constitutions.

Objective 3: Students understand that other tribal governments in Alaska are termed ‘traditional tribal governments,’ which operate in the same way as the IRA governments. Students understand that the term ‘traditional’ does not refer to culture, but merely differentiates between the tribes that adopted IRA constitutions and those that adopted other non-IRA constitutions.

Objective 4: Students understand the blood quantum requirements that were set in place for enrollment in most tribes in Alaska, and are aware of different enrollment requirements for tribes elsewhere in the United States. Students are aware of the debate surrounding blood quantum and explore their own views on the issue.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Indian Reorganization Act (1934) and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-2/indian-reorganization-act-1934/
Background Information: Provide students with an overview of the “checkerboarding” of Indian land that was occurring prior to the passage of the IRA, and the shift toward tribal self-determination that the IRA was part of.
Tribal Constitution Review: Provide students with copies of an IRA constitution of an Alaskan tribe and the constitution of a non-IRA constitution of an Alaskan tribe. Have students identify the differences between the two and explain the different processes behind the adoption of each version. Have students obtain a copy of their tribe’s constitution and identify what type it is, and if students are non-tribal members they can choose a tribe in Alaska and request this for the purposes of the lesson.
Blood Quantum Research and Debate: Have students identify the blood quantum requirements for enrollment in their tribe, or if students are non-tribal members, have them choose an Alaskan tribe to look into enrollment requirements for. Have students research other tribal enrollment requirements that exist for tribes in the lower 48, and read some opinion pieces from the Internet on the issue of blood quantum. Have students write a short essay explaining their views on the use of blood quantum for tribal enrollment, and what criteria they feel should be used to determine tribal enrollment.

Lesson 2: Federal Recognition of Tribes

Objective 1: Students understand the significance of federal recognition of tribes in terms of the ability of tribes to receive certain services and resources from the U.S. government and exercise tribal sovereignty.

Objective 2: Students know that Alaskan tribes were largely not federally recognized until 1993, when Ada Deer, Assistant Secretary of for Indian Affairs under the Clinton administration, published a new list of federally recognized tribes including 226 tribes in Alaska. Students know the current number of federally recognized tribes in Alaska.

Objective 3: Students understand that the State of Alaska has not recognized tribes in Alaska and understand how this has hampered the ability of the state to work cooperatively with tribes.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Federal Recognition of Alaska Tribes and Relations with the State of Alaska and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-4/federal-recognition-of-alaska-tribes-and-relations-with-the-state-of-alaska/
Class Discussion: After reviewing the information on the Tribal Management webpage, have a class discussion on the significance of federal recognition for tribes and the idea of government-to-government relationships. Also discuss with the students some of the reasons why the State of Alaska would be unwilling to recognize tribes, such as perceived threats to state sovereignty, and some of the reasons why recognition and cooperation with tribes might benefit not only tribes but the rest of the state, such as increased federally funded programs and law enforcement capacity.

Lesson 3: What do tribal governments do?

Objective 1: Students generally understand the powers that tribal governments in the Lower 48 have in conjunction with Indian Country status.

Objective 2: Students understand the powers that tribal governments in Alaska have, and their limitations due to a lack of a tribal land base/Indian Country.
Objective 3: Students understand the functions/roles of tribal governments in their communities and everyday lives. Students know who their tribal government officials are and what they do in their official capacities. Students understand how their tribal governments could play a role various possible scenarios, such as in representing the interests of the tribe on important issues.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Relationships Between Alaska and Lower 48 Tribes and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-4/relationships-between-alaska-and-lower-48-tribes/
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Modern Tribal Governments in Alaska and read the information presented, and watch the short video clips included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-4/modern-tribal-governments-in-alaska/
Tribal Council Meeting: With permission from the tribe, have students attend and observe a tribal council meeting, then write down and/or discuss their thoughts and observations about the meeting, its process, and the issues discussed.
Presentation from Tribal Leader: Ask a tribal leader or staff member (president, council member, etc.) to visit the classroom and explain the roles of the leaders and employees of the tribe, and some of the important issues the tribe has dealt with in the past or is dealing with currently. Ask the presenter to explain how the tribe has been involved in representing the interests of its membership in regional statewide forums.
Mock Tribal Council Meeting: Have students role-play in a mock tribal council meeting. Have some students act as the tribal council members and some as tribal members attending/observing the meeting. Have the students prepare issues they feel are pertinent to their tribe to include on the agenda for the mock meeting, and have students prepared to voice their differing views on the issues as both tribal members and tribal council members. Have students practice utilizing Robert’s Rules of Order or whatever meeting procedure is used by their tribe during tribal council meetings.
Video: Have students watch the film “Alaska Tribes – The Story of Federal Indian Law in Alaska.” Information on how to obtain a copy of this film can be found at https://www.tananachiefs.org/films/

Lesson 4: Tribal Courts

Objective 1: Students are familiar with the different types of tribal courts in Alaska and their powers, roles, and methods, such as the use of culturally relevant traditional punishment and talking circles.

Objective 2: Students understand what Public Law 83-280 is and what concurrent jurisdiction means for Alaska tribes.

Objective 3: Students understand the basic provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the role of tribal courts in Alaska in resolving child custody and related disputes.

Lesson Ideas

Student Presentations: Depending on class size, assign each student or group of students a chapter from the document “Tribal Court Development – Alaska Tribes” by Tanana Chiefs Conference and Lisa Jaeger accessible at http://thorpe.ou.edu/AKtribalct/index_2.html. Have the students or groups prepare Power Point presentations on each chapter to present to the rest of the class, along with a set of notes summarizing the information from the chapter to hand out to the rest of the class.
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) 1978 and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-3/indian-child-welfare-act-1978/
Tribal Court and/or ICWA Presentation: Ask a local tribal court judge and/or Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) specialist for the tribe visit the class and present on their roles. Ask the presenters to give examples of some of the issues and challenges they face in these roles and the kinds of cases that arise.
Mock Tribal Court: Have the students role-play in a mock tribal court. Have some students act as tribal court judges, some as the parties involved in the case, and some as attorneys (if appropriate). If the class size is larger, it can be split into more than one mock court. Have students select the tribal court structure they wish to act out and assign the mock court a scenario/issue to hear, discuss, and decide on.

Unit 3: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)

Lesson 1: Alaska Native Land Claims Movement

Objective 1: Students know the history leading up to the passage of ANCSA, including Alaska’s statehood and impending land selections by the State of Alaska, the movement by Alaska Natives to assert their rights to the land, the discovery of oil on the North Slope, and the land freeze.

Objective 2: Students understand the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Alaska Federation of Natives and its role in the Alaska Native land claims movement.

Objective 3: Students are familiar with major leaders involved in the Alaska Native land claims movement and the roles they played in this effort.

Objective 4: Students understand the nature of ANCSA as a settlement of the claims of Alaska Natives as having inherent rights to the land, not a grant of land and money to Alaska Natives by the federal government. Students understand that this settlement took the form of Alaska Natives retaining 44 million acres of land, and relinquishing their claim to the rest of the state in exchange for $962.5 million.

Lesson Ideas

Assigned Reading: Have students read throughout the course of several weeks one or more of the following books: “Growing Up Native in Alaska” by Alexandra McClanahan, “Fifty Miles from Tomorrow” by William Hensley, or “Etok: A Story of Eskimo Power” by Hugh Gregory Gallagher. Have students maintain a reading journal for the books with short ½ page entries for each chapter to record their reflections or new information discovered.
Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) 1971 and read the information presented. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-3/alaska-native-claims-settlement-act-ancsa-1971/. Have a class discussion to bring together the history/information from both the online lesson and the students have read about the time leading up to ANCSA and its passage.
ANCSA- A Native’s Perspective: Use the lesson plan developed by Emily Ann Leon accessible at the following webpage: http://www.k12northstar.org/cms/lib010/AK01901510/Centricity/Domain/1094//Tanana%20Chiefs%20Day/ancsaanativesperspectivelessonplanshs.pdf

Lesson 2: Alaska Native Corporations

Objective 1: Students know that 12 regional corporations and over 200 village corporations were created by ANCSA to hold fee simple title to the selected Native land. Students know that a 13th regional corporation was also created but did not receive land in the settlement. Students know the names/geographic areas/cultural distinctions of the 12 land-owning regional corporations.

Objective 2: Students understand that ANCSA revoked all reservations in Alaska except the Metlakatla Reservation on Annette Island. Students understand the significance of the fact that land was not placed in the ownership of tribes through ANCSA, leaving tribes without a land base.

Objective 3: Students understand the nature of Alaska Native corporations as profit-making entities and understand how this structure of indigenous land retention was unprecedented and remains unique throughout the United States and the world. Students understand that ANCSA corporations have certain roles/responsibilities that normal profit-making corporations do not, such as the maintenance of cultural sites, due to their nature as indigenous entities.

Lesson Ideas

Explore the Law: Go over the components of ANCSA listed in the above objectives in class with a map of Alaska depicting the ANCSA regional corporation membership base geographically and corporation-owned land as a visual aid.
ANCSA Regional Corporation Profiles: Depending on the class size, assign each student or group a regional corporation to research and prepare a Power Point presentation on. Students can share information on the culture groups included, the size of the corporation, its business ventures, its history, programs, and geographical area/land ownership.
Essay on Ties to the Land: Have students write a short essay on how they view their relationship to the land and values regarding the land in terms of their culture, identity, spirituality, wellbeing, sustenance, and other factors that they feel are important.
Class Discussion: After students have completed their essays on ties to the land, have a discussion with the students about how the ideas they expressed in their essays align or conflict with ANCSA. Discuss factors such as the profit-driven nature of ANCSA corporations, which often involves natural resource extraction, and the idea of “ownership” of the land.
Class Discussion: Have a discussion with the students about the significance of ANCSA land being held by corporations instead of tribes. Have students identify the pros and cons of this outcome.

Lesson 3: Shareholders

Objective 1: Students understand that Alaska Natives born on or before the day of the passage of ANCSA, December 18, 1971, received 100 shares in their village and regional corporations. Students understand what being a shareholder means and that under ANCSA the ownership of shares represent ties to the corporation-owned Native land, as well as the concept of dividends.

Objective 2: Students understand that only Native shareholders can vote in ANCSA corporation board elections and that each share counts as one vote. Students understand the process of proxy voting and are familiar with their regional corporation board members and know who their village corporation board members are. Students understand what serving on an ANCSA corporation board involves.

Objective 3: Students understand the process of gifting/inheriting shares and understand that corporations can vote to open enrollment to “new Natives.” Students understand the concept of life estate stock. Students know which corporations have opened enrollment to “new Natives.”

Lesson Ideas

Explore the Law: Go over the components of ANCSA listed in the above objectives in class and have students ask any questions they may have to ensure they understand the ideas and processes being presented.
Being a Shareholder in My Corporation: Have students research what the requirements are for becoming a shareholder in their respective regional and village corporations (if they are not shareholders, use the corporations their parents or grandparents are members of), learn who the board members for both their regional and village corporations are, and what the benefits are of being a shareholder or descendent of these corporations. For students who may not be associated with ANCSA corporations, have them choose a regional and village corporation to research. Have students record the basics components of this information on a note card that can serve as their shareholder/descendent information card.
Attend a Corporation Meeting: With permission from the corporation board, have students attend and observe a meeting of a local village or regional corporation board, then write down and/or discuss their thoughts and observations about the meeting, its process, and the issues discussed.
Presentation from Corporation Leader: Ask a leader or staff member from a local village or regional corporation (president, board member, etc.) to visit the class and present on his/her work/role in the corporation, and provide an overview of what the duties of the corporation are and some of its economic pursuits.
Opinion Piece: Have each student write an opinion piece/letter explaining why they do or do not feel that ANCSA corporations should open enrollment to “new Natives.”

Lesson 4: ANCSA Land/Profit Sharing

Objective 1: Students understand the concept of fee simple title and that as private land, ANCSA land falls under the jurisdiction of the State of Alaska.

Objective 2: Students understand that regional corporations hold the subsurface estate to all corporation land, including the subsurface estate under village corporation land. Students understand what this means in terms of resource extraction and know how regional corporations have utilized subsurface estate for oil drilling and mining.

Objective 3: Students understand the requirements of Sections 7(i) and 7(j) of ANCSA, which involve the sharing of 70 percent of the profits from natural resource revenues among the regional corporations and the distribution of a portion of these funds among village corporations and shareholders.

Lesson Ideas

Explore the Law: Go over the components of ANCSA listed in the above objectives in class and have students ask any questions they may have to ensure they understand the ideas and processes being presented.
My Corporations and Their Land: Have students research how surface and subsurface estate is distributed between their village and regional corporations. Have students identify any resource extraction that either corporation may be conducting to generate revenue and explain how they feel about this activity. For students who may not be associated with ANCSA corporations, have them choose a village and regional corporation to research for this assignment.
Assigned Reading: Have students read the following excerpt from “A Legacy of Sharing” by Phyllis Fast: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/cafe/upload/A-Legacy-of-Sharing-for-Phyllis-Fast_Sakuuktugut-excerpt.pdf. Have a class discussion about the ideas brought forward in the excerpt regarding sharing as a value for Alaska Native people translated into the context of ANCSA corporations, and some of the controversy surrounding the 7(i) and 7(j) requirements.

Lesson 5: What do ANCSA corporations look like today?

Objective 1: Students understand the important role that ANCSA corporations play in the Alaskan economy today and are aware of some subsidiaries/companies ANCSA corporations operate.

Objective 2: Students are aware of the role that their village and regional corporations play in their everyday lives and in their communities.
Objective 3: Students are aware of some of the ways that ANCSA corporations have explored businesses other than resource extraction and are aware of some village corporations that have experienced extraordinary growth and success.

Lesson Ideas

Alaska Business Monthly Top 49ers: Provide students with copies of the most current Alaska Business Monthly Top 49ers issue. Have students read the profiles of ANCSA corporations listed in the magazine and note such factors as how many of the top 49 are ANCSA corporations, how many of those are village corporations, how many people the corporations employ in Alaska, how many of those are Alaska Native and/or shareholders, and the types of operations the corporations are running to generate revenue. Have a class discussion about the corporate success of many ANCSA corporations, including ideas students have about what contributes to this success, something new that students learned about ANCSA corporations from the magazine.
Revenue Variety: Have students come up with a list (does not need to be comprehensive) of business ventures that ANCSA corporations have been successful with that do not have to do with resource extraction. Have students also brainstorm ways that ANCSA corporations can do more to create economic development in their community and statewide through new business opportunities.
What Is My Corporation Doing?: Have students explore the roles that their village and/or regional corporations play in their lives. From their perspective, have students describe what they feel their village and/or regional corporation is doing well and what it can/should do better or differently. This can be written as an essay or given as a presentation in class. For students who many not be associated with an ANCSA corporation, they can choose a village and/or regional corporation and write/present from the perspective of a shareholder or descendent.
ANCSA at 40: Have students watch some or all of the ANCSA at 40 videos available at https://vimeo.com/album/1658218.

Unit 4: Subsistence

Lesson 1: What is subsistence?

Objective 1: Students explore what subsistence means to them and their communities. Students are aware of the cultural, spiritual, and nutritional importance attached to the practice of subsistence for Alaska Native people. Students understand the importance of sharing and redistribution of subsistence food for Alaska Natives.

Objective 2: Students understand the definitions of subsistence in state and federal law and the nature of these definitions as delineating individual rather than group rights.

Lesson Ideas

Class Discussion: Have a class discussion about what subsistence means. Ask students to provide their understandings of subsistence and create a web of concepts, terms, and values that are included in students’ understandings of subsistence on the board.
Subsistence Interviews & Photos: Have students conduct interviews with members of their community (elders, hunters, gatherers, food processors) about what subsistence means, the cultural, spiritual, and nutritional aspects of subsistence, and the importance of sharing and redistribution of subsistence foods. Have students also take photos of subsistence foods, gear, and other images related to subsistence throughout the community. Have students create a collage with their subsistence photos and quotes/excerpts from their interviews with community members to hang on the wall.
Legal Definitions: Go over legal definitions of subsistence in state and federal laws in class. Have a class discussion about subsistence as an individual right and subsistence as a group (Alaska Native) right, and how students’ and the community’s understanding aligns or conflicts with the legal definitions of subsistence.

Lesson 2: Alaska Native Subsistence Rights

Objective 1: Students understand that part of the trust responsibility of the federal government toward Alaska Native tribes includes the protection of their subsistence rights, which would require an understanding of subsistence as a group right.

Objective 2: Students understand that aboriginal title was extinguished for Alaska Natives by ANCSA and what this means in terms of Alaska Native subsistence rights.

Objective 3: Students understand that upon the passage of ANCSA Congress stated its expectation that the State of Alaska and the Secretary of the Interior would take action to meet the subsistence needs of Alaska Natives, but that this was never done.

Lesson Ideas

Review and Class Discussion: Review materials from previous lessons that provide precedent for the existence of Alaska Native subsistence as a group right, then discuss the impact of the extinguishment of aboriginal title on this precedent. Provide an overview of the intent of Congress in terms of protection for Alaska Native subsistence after the passage of ANCSA and extinguishment of aboriginal title.
Opinion Pieces: Have students read selected opinion pieces from the Internet argue for and against Alaska Native subsistence rights, then have students write a short essay/opinion piece expressing their views on the matter.

Lesson 3: Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) Title VIII

Objective 1: Students understand the rural subsistence priority created by Title VIII of ANILCA and the circumstances surrounding its creation. Students understand that Title VIII was originally intended to create a Native subsistence priority to fulfill the expectations of Congress after the passage of ANCSA, but a compromise was struck with the State of Alaska to allow the state to manage fish and wildlife throughout Alaska.

Objective 2: Students understand the series of events that led to the dual fish and wildlife management system in Alaska, with ANILCA’s rural subsistence priority applying to federal land and equal subsistence access for all Alaskans on state lands. Students understand the issues involved with a dual management system for subsistence.

Objective 3: Students understand the implications of the rural subsistence priority for Alaska Natives and students understand that small, predominantly Native communities can be classified as non-rural for subsistence purposes by proximity to urban areas or through growth in population.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Subsistence (ANILCA 1980) and read the information presented. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-3/alaska-national-interest-lands-conservation-act-1980/
ANILCA Timeline: Have students develop a detailed timeline beginning with the passage of ANCSA and the extinguishment of aboriginal title and ending at the current day. The timeline should include the passage of ANILCA and subsistence being managed by the state with a rural priority, the McDowell v. State of Alaska case, and efforts to bring Alaska back into compliance with ANILCA to allow for state management of subsistence, and the continued existence of the dual management system. The items on the timeline should include detailed descriptions of the background information and reasoning for each event.
Opinion Pieces: Have students read selected opinion pieces from the Internet that argue for and against a rural subsistence priority, then have students write a short essay/opinion piece expressing their views on the matter.
Class Discussion: Have a class discussion on the implications that a rural subsistence priority would have for Alaska Natives. The discussion should include pros and cons of the idea of a rural subsistence priority, and issues such as the fact that many Alaska Natives who still rely on subsistence now live in urban centers.

Lesson 4: Katie John Cases

Objective1: Students know who Katie John is and understand the circumstances that led to her involvement in litigation to protect her ability to fish at her family’s traditional fish camp site.

Objective 2: Students understand why the Katie John cases are significant in terms of subsistence rights and federal jurisdiction over waters in Alaska, as well as the role and position of the State of Alaska in the litigation.

Objective 3: Students understand the lengthy history of the Katie John cases and the circumstances under which the cases were finally settled in 2014, as well as the general impacts of the final decision.

Lesson Ideas

Assigned Reading: Have students read the following summary of Katie John’s life and the circumstances surrounding her involvement in subsistence litigation by Heather Kendall-Miller: http://www.narf.org/cases/katie-john-v-norton/. Update students on the most recent ruling regarding the Katie John cases.
Overview of Case: Explain the details of the Katie John litigation in simplified terms to the students using information written on the board or on a Power Point presentation so that students understand the situation that gave rise to the litigation, the arguments of the parties involved, the evolution of the case over time, and the final ruling. Once students understand the case, have a class discussion about the implications of the Katie John ruling for the Alaska Native subsistence community.
Opinion Development: Have students watch the Alaska Federation of Natives’ press briefing following the latest Katie John ruling available here: https://vimeo.com/90997369. Have students then conduct Internet research to find opinion pieces or arguments in favor of the State of Alaska’s position on the Katie John case. Have students write a short essay/opinion piece expressing their views on the matter.

Lesson 5: Alaska Natives and Marine Mammal Hunting

Objective 1: Students understand that Alaska Natives have an exemption under the Marine Mammal Protection Act allowing them to hunt marine mammals for subsistence. Students understand that this exemption is a reflection of the federal trust responsibility of the U.S. government toward Alaska Native tribes. Students are aware of the blood quantum requirement for hunting marine mammals.

Objective 2: Students know that marine mammal populations are co-managed by Alaska Native marine mammal commissions/committees and federal agencies through agreements established under Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Objective 3: Students are aware of the different Alaska Native marine mammal commissions/committees that exist in the state and their role in representing the subsistence interests of tribes. Students are aware of any Alaska Native marine mammal commissions/committees their tribe is a part of and know who their representatives are in those organizations.

Objective 4: Students understand the role that Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Local Knowledge play in the co-management process for marine mammals.

Lesson Ideas

Explore the Law: Go over the language in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) that creates an exemption for Alaska Native marine mammal hunting, and have a class discussion about how this aligns with the federal trust responsibility. Then explain the blood quantum requirement set up by the federal regulations implementing the MMPA, which use the definition of “Native” provided by ANCSA. Have a class discussion on the implications of this for the continuation of Alaska Native subsistence and the potential community and cultural impacts.
Explore the Law: Go over the language in the MMPA that allows for the co-management of marine mammals between the federal government and Alaska Native groups. Have a class discussion on the concept of “co-management” and what it means in terms of power distribution and protections for Alaska Native subsistence.
Marine Mammal Commission Posters: Assign each student an Alaska Native marine mammal commission/organization to research and have the students create posters with information about the commissions/organizations, such as the communities they represent, their goals, the work they do, and the issues that are important to them. Hang the posters in the classroom for the information to be shared.
Traditional/Local Knowledge: Present students with various definitions of Traditional and Local Knowledge and have a class discussion with examples or experiences that students might have with gaining or using this knowledge. Have students brainstorm examples of how Traditional/Local Knowledge can be useful for the management of marine mammals.
Marine Mammal Commission Traditional Knowledge Work: Have each student expand on their research about their assigned marine mammal commission by developing a Power Point describing one or more Traditional Knowledge project the commission has conducted or been involved in.
My Marine Mammal Subsistence Representation: If students live in a community that is represented by one or more marine mammal commission/organization, ask the representative(s) from the commission(s)/organization(s) to visit the class and provide a presentation on their role as representatives and the issues that are important to that particular community which can be brought out during meetings of the commission(s)/organizations(s). Ask the presenter about the role/importance of Traditional/Local Knowledge in the management of the marine mammal resource. If meetings of the commission(s)/organization(s) happen to occur in the students’ community, ask for permission for students to attend and observe the meeting(s).

Unit 5: Alaska Native Regional Non-Profit Organizations

Lesson 1: What are Alaska Native Regional Non-Profit Organizations?

Objective 1: Students understand the history of the formation of regional non-profit organizations throughout Alaska, including their original purpose as advocating for a Native land claims settlement and the formation of the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Objective 2: Students understand that after the passage of ANCSA, regional non-profit organizations became service delivery organizations for federal programs in Alaska, with their membership base usually corresponding to ANCSA regional corporation geographical areas.

Objective 3: Students know which regional non-profit organizations operate in their area and what their structures for tribal representation are. Students are aware of who represents their tribe on relevant regional non-profit boards.

Lesson Ideas

Video: Have students watch the following video on the history of the Alaska Federation of Native (AFN)s: http://www.nativefederation.org/about-afn/history/
Alaska Native Regional Non-Profit Organization Map: Have students fill in a large map of Alaska with geographical areas that delineate where each Alaska Native regional non-profit organization operates. Within the geographical areas, have students write down features of each non-profit that are unique that organization. In a supplemental poster displayed below the map, have students write down facts or features about Alaska Native regional non-profits that are common to all of them. Hang the map and poster in the classroom.
My Representation at the Regional Non-Profit: Have students research the organizational structure for their local regional non-profit and identify who represents their community on the regional non-profit board. Ask the local representative to visit the classroom and present on his/her role at the regional non-profit and some of the issues important to the community that are brought out at the level of the regional non-profit.
Attend an Alaska Native Regional Non-Profit Board Meeting or Conference: With permission from the organization’s board, have students attend and observe a meeting of the local Alaska Native regional non-profit, if possible. Have the students write down and/or discuss their thoughts and observations about the meeting, its process, and the issues discussed. Some regional non-profits may also hold annual conferences, which would be another good opportunity for student participation and learning.

Lesson 2: Tribal Contracting/Compacting

Objective 1: Students are familiar with the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act and its intent to increase the control of tribal organizations over the delivery of services to tribal members and management of federal programs for tribes.

Objective 2: Students understand what contracting and compacting means and are familiar with the kinds of services that Native regional non-profit organizations provide through contracting and compacting.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) 1975 and read the information presented, and watch the short video clip included on the page. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-3/indian-self-determination/
Class Discussion: Have a class discussion on the concepts of tribal contracting and compacting in terms of tribal self-determination and creating better outcomes and service delivery for tribes.
Services in My Region: Have students conduct Internet research on how their local Alaska Native regional non-profit or their local conducts tribal contracting and compacting, and what services are provided through these funds. Go around the room and have students volunteer their findings to add to a central list generated on the board.

Lesson 3: What roles do regional non-profits play in the community/region?

Objective 1: Students understand the different roles that the various departments/divisions within their regional non-profit organization play in their everyday lives and in their communities.

Objective 2: Students are aware of the advocacy that is conducted by regional non-profits for the interests of the tribes within their region, and the nature of the non-profits as a representative voice of the tribes on many issues.

Lesson Ideas

Group/Individual Research: Depending on the size of the class, assign each student or group one department/division within the local Alaska Native regional non-profit to research. Have students identify how they see the work or mission of that department/division having application in their lives and/or in their communities. Have students compile their findings into a Power Point presentation to share with the class.
Advocacy Exercise: Compile a list of examples of issues and situations in which the local Alaska Native regional non-profit organization has advocated on behalf of its membership, and present these examples to the class. Provide the class with another issue and/or scenario with relevance to the regional non-profit’s membership, and ask students to write down their ideas about how the regional non-profit would respond to the issue/scenario based on the previous advocacy examples provided.

Unit 6: Current Alaska Native Political Issues

Lesson 1: Current Status of Tribal Sovereignty in Alaska

Objective 1: Students understand the impacts that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government has had on tribal sovereignty in Alaska in terms of territorial jurisdiction, with the determination that ANCSA lands are not Indian Country. Students understand how this decision has and continues to make it difficult for tribes to function as sovereigns.

Objective 2: Students understand the possibilities for increased tribal sovereignty in Alaska with the Akiachak v. Salazar decision and the ability of tribes to petition the Secretary of the Interior to take tribal land into trust.

Objective 3: Students are aware of the various ways that tribes may be exploring the exercise of greater sovereign powers, such as through the possible enactment of fish and wildlife management codes for tribal lands.

Objective 4: Students are aware of the opposition to greater tribal sovereignty in Alaska that continues to exist, particularly from the State of Alaska and interest groups who are wary of tribal empowerment. Students understand the various reasons that these groups/entities oppose tribal empowerment.

Lesson Ideas

Online Lesson: Have students visit the UAF Tribal Management Program’s webpage on Alaska Tribal Sovereignty and Jurisdiction: Major case law affecting Alaska tribal jurisdiction and read the information presented. https://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-4/alaska-tribal-sovereignty-and-jurisdiction-major-case-law-affecting-alaska-tribal-jurisdiction/
Assigned Reading and Discussion: Have students read the brief synopsis of the Akiachak v. Salazar case on the Native American Rights Fund website: http://www.narf.org/cases/akiachak-v-doi/. Also have the students read background information on the case, including the State of Alaska’s position, in this SitNews article/brief: http://www.sitnews.us/0815News/082715/082715_brief_akiachak_appeal.html. Have students identify similarities between the Akiachak v. Salazar case and the Katie John cases regarding the position of the State of Alaska in opposition to tribal interests. Have a class discussion about the possibilities for tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction in Alaska based on this ruling.
Internet Research and Opinion Piece: Have students conduct Internet research about different opinions that exist on the idea of Alaskan tribes being able to put land into trust. Have students write down mention of plans and/or possibilities for strengthened or expanded tribal governance in Alaska as a result of the potential for trust land. Have students write a short essay/opinion piece about whether they feel Alaskan tribes should be able to put land into trust and whether or not ideas mentioned for strengthened/expanded tribal governments are good or bad ideas and whether they are feasible.

Lesson 2: Subsistence

Objective 1: Students are aware of the current efforts under way by such entities as AFN to ensure the protection of Alaska Native subsistence rights, through such means as lobbying for a Native subsistence priority.

Objective 2: Students are aware of the current challenges facing the Alaska Native subsistence community arising from resource depletion, such as the salmon disaster that has been occurring on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. Students understand some of the ways that the Native community is working to address these management issues, such as through exploring tribal co-management.

Objective 3: Students are aware of some of the issues facing subsistence users arising from environmental change, particularly impacts on ice associated marine mammals and what this could mean for communities dependent on these resources for subsistence. Students are aware of how changes in weather patterns affect subsistence communities and their ability to safely and successfully hunt. Students are aware of what actions are being taken by Alaska Native organizations to address these impacts.

Lesson Ideas

News Feature Video: Have students act in a mock newscast featuring the latest events and information about Alaska Native subsistence advocacy. Students can act as reporters and activists/Alaska Native leaders/subsistence users being interviewed for the news report, and other students can be in charge of filming, editing, and script writing. All of the students will be involved in the research on what to include in the news feature. Current events regarding subsistence that may be included are AFN’s most recent activities and statements related to subsistence, such as its announcement that it is exploring the blood quantum issue for marine mammal hunters, the subsistence harvest disasters being experienced by fishing communities on the Yukon and Kuskokwim and walrus hunting communities in the Bering Strait region, and the potential impacts of Endangered Species Act listing for Alaska Native subsistence resources.
Climate Change and Subsistence Interviews: Have students conduct interviews with members of their community on subsistence impacts being observed, felt, and/or anticipated due to climate change. Have students document the concerns community members have regarding this issue and any ideas or priorities community members might have for mitigation measures. Have students combine the information from the interviews and develop a collective report and/or poster on their findings.
Student Activists: Have students explore ways they can get involved in climate change activism to mitigate impacts on subsistence, and give students the opportunity to draft letters to their state legislators and Congressional delegation explaining the climate change impacts on their community and requesting that action be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Videos: Have students watch the documentaries about climate change impacts in Alaska Native communities on the following webpage: http://aksik.org/

Lesson 3: International Organizations/Issues

Objective 1: Students are aware of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and understand its significance for efforts to bring about greater recognition and protection of indigenous rights internationally.

Objective 2: Students know what various international indigenous organizations representing Alaska Natives are, such as the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Students understand the circumstances that led to their formation, including the Native leaders who helped to bring the organizations about.

Objective 3: Students are aware of the collaboration that occurs between indigenous people in Alaska and those in Canada, Greenland, and Russia on issues of mutual concern. Students are aware of what some of these issues are, such as strengthening indigenous self-governance, maintenance of indigenous languages and cultures, improving health, and the protection of subsistence rights and resources.

Lesson Ideas

Review and Discuss UNDRIP: Provide students with copies of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and go through the document with the class. Discuss individual components of UNDRIP with the class and ask the students to identify familiar themes or ideas within the document that resonate with ideas or topics covered previously in the course.
Group Presentations: Divide the students into four groups and assign each student one of the following organizations to research: Inuit Circumpolar Council, Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, and Gwich’in Council International. Have each group prepare a Power Point presentation on the history, structure, purpose, and utility of their assigned international organization.
Discussion: After the Power Point presentations, have a class discussion to identify some of the major themes in collaboration between indigenous peoples in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia through participation in these international organizations. Have students identify what issues and topics seem to be important areas of focus for the indigenous international organizations and record the discussion on the board.

 

Alaska Native Civics & Government Curriculum