Doyon and Canyon Village Support Final Land Conveyance Authorization
Pictured: Clifton Jonas and others work to build a bridge in Canyon Village in March 2003. Photo courtesy of Delma Fields
In June 1976, Canyon Village’s Kian Tr’ee Corporation filed its land selection with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pursuant to section 14(h)(2) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) for conveyance to the Native group. Canyon Village was recognized by Congress as a Native village subject to ANCSA, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs certified Kian Tr’ee Corporation as the corporation for Canyon Village. Due to a series of federal actions, however, the Gwich’in people of Canyon Village have been denied their aboriginal land claims provided by ANCSA for over 40 years.
According to Delma Fields, First Chief of Canyon Village, “Canyon Village was established in 1958 on the banks of the Porcupine River in northeast Alaska by our extended family of Gwich’in people.” The members of Canyon Village continue to view their lands as important for supporting family and traditions. Canyon Village members have long advocated for their land selections and have yet to be granted claims to the land they selected in 1976.
Today Kian Tr’ee is one of two certified Native group corporations in Alaska that has neither a conveyance nor a pending conveyance arranged by special legislation or negotiation. “As our Elders pass on, it’s imperative that we keep our connection with the land to continue our heritage for the sake of our children, grandchildren and future generations,” said Fields.
Doyon is currently working with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office and with representatives of Canyon Village to support conveyance of these land selections. In May, Sen. Murkowski introduced the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act of 2016 (S. 3273), which provides language requiring the secretary of the Interior to convey land to Kian Tr’ee. Also included in the act is language amending ANCSA to provide Alaska Native Vietnam veterans eligibility to receive an allotment.
Doyon continues to support and advocate for the progress of S. 3273 and will provide updates as it moves through the Senate for passage. Updates will be provided in the Doyon shareholder newsletter.
For more information, please contact Sarah Obed, Doyon’s vice president of external affairs, at 459-2000 (in Fairbanks), 1-888-478-4755 (toll-free) or email@example.com.