In 1971, the landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was signed, addressing the issue of Alaska Native land rights. ANCSA created 12 regional corporations and over 230 village corporations to receive money and manage lands on behalf of their Shareholders. ANCSA requires Alaska Natives to enroll with a corporation to receive benefits from the settlement. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) accepts the applications and then assigns which regional corporation an applicant will be enrolled in as a Shareholder.
Shareholders are owners in a corporation. They elect a Board of Directors which then hires and evaluates a President to lead corporate business. Working together, this team of people is able to accomplish much more than they could alone.