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ANCSA Amendment to Protect Elders


On April 30, 2024 Shee Atiká submitted the written testimony of Shee Atiká Board Chair Steven Karpstein and Shee Atiká CEO Tim Castro in support of H.R. 2687 to amend ANCSA.  Shee Atiká’s testimony was submitted in conjunction with a formal Committee hearing on H.R. 2687 which was held April 30, 2024.  Other Alaska Native Corporations submitting written testimony include Bering Straits Native Corporation, Old Harbor Native Corporation and Chugach Alaska Corporation.

H.R. 2687 was introduced in the current (118th) Congress by Alaska Congresswoman Mary Peltola.  Senators Murkowski and Sullivan have introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 623. Similar legislation was introduced in previous Congresses by the late Congressman Don Young as well as Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Shee Atiká also submitted written testimony in support of those earlier bills.

Under the current version of ANCSA, all persons who receive settlement trust distributions exceeding $2,000/year must include these amounts in determining whether the recipient is eligible for certain governmental programs, such as food stamps, supplemental income under the Social Security Act, and housing assistance. If the $2,000/year limit is exceeded, the result is often that the recipient is unable to qualify for these governmental programs.

The $2,000/year limit has not been changed since 1988 and applies to all Alaska Natives.  It is particularly harmful to those of limited means such as elders, the blind and the disabled.  H.R. 2687 would correct this by exempting elders, the blind and the disabled from the $2,000/year limit. As explained by Shee Atiká Chair Steven Karpstein,

“Shee Atiká would like to see the $2,000/year rule eliminated entirely for everyone.  However, until we can get Congress to take that step, Shee Atiká wants to block the $2000/year rule as to elders and Alaska Natives who are blind or disabled.  These are the most vulnerable in our community, who we must protect.  It is simply not right that they must choose between either receiving the distributions from SAFE to which they are entitled, or receiving the governmental benefits to which they are also entitled.”

Chair Steven Karpstein added, “Shee Atiká is awarding the 2024 William Paul Award to Congresswoman Peltola at our 50th Celebration in Sitka on July 12, 2024 in recognition of her ongoing efforts on behalf of all Alaska Natives, including Shee Atiká’s elders and others in H.R. 2687. We hope that everyone can join us in honoring Congresswoman Peltola on July 12.”

Click to view support documents below:

Shee Atika Inc. Support Letter

H.R. 2687