“The Alaska Historical Society Guide to Sources for the Study of ANCSA” by Dr. Charleen Fisher and Dr. William Schnieder

With the 50 year anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (DANSRD) would like to share the Guide to Sources of Study for ANCSA as developed by the Alaska Historical Society (AHS). This blog entry will include an overview of the guide as well as highlight an example. We recommend that you use the Guide in your research activities.

The Alaska Historical Society is quickly moving from annotating sources to include in the master Guide to Sources on ANCSA to the next stage, formatting and managing the 700 plus page document. Karen Brewster is ably managing this compilation. The Guide will contain six sections:

  1. An introduction explaining the scope of the project and how the Guide is organized. 
  2. A second section lists collections by archive or holding institution.
  3. A third section that actually describes the content of collections at each site that relates to ANCSA. This third section is indexed down to the box and folder level when possible and is meant to give researchers a path to content that relates to their area of interest. To access the actual content they will need to go to the archive where it is held. 
  4. The fourth section of the Guide is an annotated bibliography of sources that are readily available in published or printed form in library holdings. 
  5. A fifth section is a listing of key players in the ANCSA movement. A one or two sentence describes each person’s role. 
  6. The sixth and final section of the Guide is a compilation of curriculum that has been developed over the years with a listing of key discussion topics for educators teaching this topic. 

An Example of How to Use the Guide 

Photo title: “Chiefs’ Conference at Tanana”, 1962. Bear Ketzler Collection, UAF Archives. Photo dated 1962. Photo number UAF 1992-202-18. 

One of the collections featured in the Guide is for Al Ketzler Sr., an Interior Native leader who worked for land claims. A collection of material was deposited at the Rasmuson Library, Alaska and Polar Regions Archives and is described in the Guide to Sources on ANCSA in sections 2 and 3 of the Guide.

Section 2

Al Ketzler Sr. Collection

Al Ketzler Sr. is an Athabascan leader from Nenana, Alaska who actively worked for the recognition of Native rights and was instrumental in organizing Native leaders in the Interior in the 1960s about land ownership issues prior to the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act. The collection covers the years 1961-1977, and topics of particular interest addressed by this collection include:

  • Material and correspondence from the first Chiefs Meeting in Nenana and subsequent meeting in Tanana in 1962, and the Dena’ Nena’ Henash (Our Land Speaks) organization that Ketzler was chairman of and its conference in Tanana in 1963; 
  • Material and correspondence related to the Alaska Native Rights Association; 

Correspondence and supporting reference to key people involved in early Native land claims efforts: Kay Hitchcock (English Department, UAF); Sandra Jensen (local Fairbanksan involved in helping the people of Nenana with their “land problem”); Charles Purvis (whose daughter, DeLois, was married to Al Ketzler and was a local Fairbanksan involved in helping the people of Nenana with their “land problem”); Grant Newman (Director of the Alaska Native Rights Association); Henry Forbes, LaVerne Madigan and William Byler of the Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in New York City that supported Ketzler’s land claims efforts and helped provide funding; and William L. Paul, Sr, who was Tlingit and a Native rights attorney.

To see the listing of sources, researchers go to section 3 of the Guide where they find the following description:

  1. Al Ketzler, Sr. Collection 

Box 4: Alfred Ketzler Sr., Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Collection (Accession 84-044)

Box 4

Folder 10

“Chiefs’ Conference, Tanana, Alaska, June 24-26, 1962”

“Dena’ Nena’ Henash” (Our Land Speaks)

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