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.