Alaska Native and American Indian Policy: A Comparative Case

Authors: Linda Moon Stumpff

Disciplines: Anthropology, Business and Management, Geography, History, Law, Native American Studies, Political Science and Public Administration

Themes: Activism, Community Development, Cultural Preservation, Economic Development, Federal and State Relations and Policy, Health and Wellness, Intergovernmental Relations, Land, Law and Justice, Leadership, Salmon, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty, Tribal Governance, Tribal Membership, Enrollment and Citizenship

Tribes: Alaska Native, Morongo, Navajo, Onondaga, Seminole, Squaxin Island, Tulalip

Federal policy directed to settle Alaska Native land claims was shaped in a later time period and in a much different demographic, ecological, and economic context than earlier federal Indian Policy. This study begs the question why, despite these major differences, the two policy streams resulted in similar outcomes when analyzed at the macro level with national statistics. At the same time, significant cases of successful outcomes for Alaska Natives and for American Indian Tribes of the Lower Forty-Eight challenge the hypothesis of similar outcomes. Alaska Natives and American Indian Tribes created unique and innovative programs in response to these policies. By changing the scope of policy analysis from broad aggregated statistical outcomes to a kaleidoscope of detailed cases we shift the analysis to ask questions about what kinds of indigenous responses to the general federal policy streams might be most effective. Many new questions arise. Would similar responses work for both Alaska Natives and the Tribes of the Lower 48? Do distinctive differences in effective policy responses exist depend on specific factors? What kinds of indigenous policy initiatives break the mold and open the way to success and sustainability?