MURKOWSKI REINTRODUCES CAPE FOX LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski has reintroduced legislation to resolve certain conveyances and provide for alternative land selections under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act related to Cape Fox Corporation and Sealaska Corporation. The bill, S.203, enables the Cape Fox Corporation, representing the Native people of Saxman, to finalize its land entitlement under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
Under ANCSA, Cape Fox Corporation is required to take conveyance to approximately 160 acres of unusable land in mountainous terrain. The legislation would relieve Cape Fox of its obligation to take this unusable land. The legislation would permit Cape Fox Corporation to receive 99 acres of land which adjoin their existing holdings instead of the 160 unusable acres.
“Clearly, Cape Fox was placed on unequal economic footing relative to other village corporations in Southeast Alaska,” said Senator Murkowski. “Despite its best efforts during the years since ANCSA was signed into law, Cape Fox has been unable to overcome the disadvantage the law built into its land selection opportunities by this inequitable treatment. It is my hope that this legislation will provide the remedies needed to help address this longstanding inequity.”
Cape Fox Corporation is an Alaskan Village Corporation organized pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, by the Native Village of Saxman, near Ketchikan. As with other ANCSA village corporations in Southeast Alaska, Cape Fox was limited to selecting 23,040 acres under Section 16. However, unlike other village corporations, Cape Fox was further restricted from selecting lands within 6 miles of the boundary of the home rule city of Ketchikan. All other ANCSA corporations were restricted from selecting within 2 miles of such a home rule of city.
The 6-mile restriction went beyond protecting Ketchikan's watershed and damaged Cape Fox by preventing the corporation from selecting valuable timber lands, industrial sites, and other commercial property, not only in its core township, but in surrounding lands far removed from Ketchikan and its watershed. As a result of the 6-mile restriction, only the mountainous northeast corner of Cape Fox's core township, which is nonproductive and of no economic value, was available for selection by the corporation. Cape Fox's land selections were further limited by the fact that the Annette Island Indian Reservation is within its selection area, and those lands were unavailable for ANCSA selection. Cape Fox is the only ANCSA village corporation affected by this restriction.