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Life In North Pole, Alaska essays
However, the more I pondered the title of this paper"Sustainable Development and Indigenous People"the more bemused I became at its inherent, yet unintended irony. Over the millennia, indigenous people practiced and generally succeeded at some form of sustainable development. Clearly, indigenous people intuitively knew what sustainable development meant and no doubt had a good understanding of many of the difficulties involved in its accomplishment. Whether sustainable development is something contemporary indigenous people wish or are able to pursue, however, is not quite so clear. In this brief paper, I will address two interrelated areas of inquiry: first, is sustainable development an appropriate strategy that can be embraced by village-based indigenous people in Alaska today; and, second and more importantly, is it an achievable strategy?
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The boundaries of the Doyon geo-cultural region are coterminous with the boundaries of the Doyon Corporationone of the original twelve land-and-capital-holding regional corporations formed with the passage of ANCSA in 1971. In recognition of its overall population being dispersed across a large number of subsistence-centered communities and the vast size of the claimed but not awarded land base, the Doyon region was the largest ANCSA land recipient, and its 12 million-plus acres represent about 30% of all the lands conveyed in the settlement process. With the additional 2.5 million acres that were assigned to communities wishing to continue as reservations, the Doyon area has the most lands in the state under Alaska Native control.