The Alaska Native Regional Corporations (Alaska Native Corporations or ANCSA Corporations) were established in 1971 when the United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) which settled land and financial claims made by the Alaska Natives and provided for the establishment of 13 regional corporations to administer those claims.
The regional and village corporations are now owned by Alaska Native people through privately owned shares of corporation stock. Alaska Natives alive at ANCSA's enactment on December 17, 1971, who enrolled in a Native association (at the regional and/or village level) received 100 shares of stock in the respective corporation.
In 2006, the 109th Congress passed S.449 which amended ANCSA, and allowed for shares to be more easily issued to those who had missed the enrollment, or were born after the enrollment period by reducing the requirement for voting from a majority of shareholders to a majority of attending shareholders at corporation meetings.
During the 1970s, ANCSA regional and village corporations selected land in and around native villages in the state in proportion to their enrolled populations Village corporations own the surface rights to the lands they selected, but regional corporations own the subsurface rights of both their own selections and of those of the village corporations.
The Act lays out the specifics of the corporations' status. Here is an excerpt of the relevant portion.
43 U.S.C. § 1606
(a) Division of Alaska into twelve geographic regions; common heritage and common interest of region; area of region commensurate with operations of Native association; boundary disputes, arbitration. For purposes of this chapter, the State of Alaska shall be divided by the Secretary within one year after December 18, 1971, into twelve geographic regions, with each region composed as far as practicable of Natives having a common heritage and sharing common interests.
In 2016 shareholders voted to remove the corporation out of 'passive' status, and efforts to expand and grow the corporation's business and services in full swing, and will continue to thrive for many years to come. Providing critical support and services to it's shareholders.