Teacher's Guide

Opposition to the AK Native Claims Settlement Act

Enduring Understandings

When Alaska Native cultures made contact with Western cultures, protection of their land became an on-going issue. After contact with Western cultures, Alaska Native cultures gradually developed new political organizations.

Estimated Time:

Two class periods

Materials needed:

  • Cultures Unit Narrative

Lesson Plan:

  1. Have students read in small groups one of the three articles found on Alaskool in the ANCSA section: 1) Why the Arctic Slope Inupiat said NO to ANCSA by Joseph Upicksoun and Charles Edwardsen, Jr.; 2) We Own the Land by William L. Paul; or 3) How to Exploit and destroy a People: The Case of the Alaska Native in the Civil Rights Digest.
  2. Ask students to report from their small groups: What article did they read and what was the argument against ANCSA?
  3. A series of letters to Howard Rock, editor of the Tundra Times, were written by Fred Bigjim and James Ito-Adler. These letters raised questions and concerns about the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in a humorous and literary fashion. The letters can be accessed on the Alaska Native Knowledge Networkweb site by typing “Letters to Howard” in the search feature. Read the introductory section and then read the first letter aloud to the class.
  4. Discuss: As what characters did the authors present themselves? Why? What elements of humor are used by the authors of these letters? What questions about ANCSA are raised in this letter?
  5. Have students, in their small groups, continue reading some of the Letters to Howard. Students will select one of the letters and write a response to the editor or an imaginary dialog that they might have had with the authors of these letters.

Alaska Standards:

Culture: A, B, E
History: A, B, C, D
AK History: AH. CPD 6, AH. ICGP 3, AH. ICPG 10, AH. CC 5, AH. CC 6


  Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Content Student shows evidence of having researched the web sites indicated. Student engages in classroom discussion of topic, listening to others’ comments and sharing personal reflections. Letter-to-editor reflects broad understanding of questions and concerns related to ANCSA. Student has looked at web site and takes part in the class discussion on the topic. Letter-to-editor shows some understanding of the issues related to ANSCA. No web sites have been consulted. There is some involvement in class discussion. Letter-to-the-editor is partially complete. No web site has been consulted; there is no class participation. Letter has not been written.