Modern Alaska

Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions
Enduring Understandings Essential Questions
Establishing the State

The Alaska Statehood Act contained a contradiction between the land rights of Alaska Natives and the land entitlement of the state. Resolving that contradiction led to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) and the 1980 Alaska lands act (ANILCA).
  1. Why did Alaska get a land grant in the statehood act?
  2. How did Congress arrange for the management of costs of the new state?
  3. How much of Alaska was subject to Native title at the time of statehood?
Alaska Native Claims

The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 titled land to Alaska Natives and created corporations to support Alaska Natives economically.
  1. What led to awareness of Native rights in Alaska and led Alaska Natives to form new groups and associations?
  2. What part of the statehood act generated the movement for Native land claims?
  3. What was the nature impact of the Native land claims settlement?
Oil Discovery and Development in Alaska

The discovery of North America's largest single oil deposit at Prudhoe Bay in 1967 transformed Alaska as no other force in its history
  1. What was the scope of oil prospecting in Alaska through the 20th century?
  2. What was the nature of the Prudhoe Bay oil discovery and what was its impact on Alaska's economy and society?
Alaska Lands Act

The 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), a spin-off from ANCSA, provided federal protection for Alaska's and the nation's environmental "crown jewels."
  1. What was in section 17(d)(2) of ANCSA and why was it included in the claims settlement act? How did it delay completion of the state's land selection process?
  2. Who supported and who opposed the implementation of ANCSA 17(d)(2), and why? Who did the supporters represent? Who did the opposers represent?
  3. What action did President Carter take in 1978 to protect Alaska environmental lands? What was the effect of his action?
  4. Why did ANILCA pass Congress in 1980? What did ANILCA accomplish?
  5. How did ANILCA impact known resource development opportunities in Alaska?
  6. What was the "rainforest campaign?" What was its result?
Subsistence

Connection to the land is an essential and integral part of Alaska Native identity. ANILCA provided a rural preference in subsistence harvest of traditional Alaska resources, but that preference contradicts the Alaska constitutional guarantee of equal access to Alaska's resources for all citizens. While that contradiction remains unresolved, the federal government has assumed management of such resources on federal land in Alaska, and of such species as move between federal and state land.
  1. What provision in the Alaska Constitution addresses the utilization of Alaska's natural resources? Who owns Alaska's natural resources?
  2. What does ANILCA provide in regard to subsistence harvest of traditional resources?
  3. Why did the state not come into compliance with the subsistence preference of ANILCA?
  4. How is subsistence harvest preference guaranteed today?
Alaska Permanent Fund

Alaskans created a permanent publicly-owned investment fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund, in 1976
  1. What conditions in territorial Alaska gave support for the idea of an Alaska Permanent Fund?
  2. What is the role of the Alaska legislature in the annual Permanent Fund Dividend distribution?
  3. What is the Constitutional Budget Reserve? How is it related to the annual state general fund budget?
  4. What will be the impact of exhaustion of the CBR on the annual state general fund budget?
Alaska Economy and Resource Development

Alaska's economy is dependent on resource extraction, today primarily oil.
  1. How does oil production and oil taxes affect Alaska's economy?
  2. What is the role of federal spending in Alaska's economy?
  3. What is the role of other factors in Alaska's economy-- commercial fishing, tourism, forest products, and mining?
  4. What explains the majority support in Alaska for opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and development?
Alaska Environment and Land

Much of Alaska is owned by the federal government, and is protected by some sort of environmental legislation, reflecting the view of most Americans that Alaska is America's last wilderness.
  1. Who do national and Alaska groups work for to maintain federal protection of environmental lands in Alaska?
  2. What was the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on Alaska? What was its national impact?
The Military in Alaska

The military plays an important role in Alaska.
  1. What is the role of the military in Alaska?