In 1971, Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to distribute land and promote economic growth for Alaska Natives. ANCSA provided for the establishment of thirteen regional Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and what has now grown to over 200 village, urban, and group corporations. These regional and local corporations were tasked with dividing land, resources, and money among their shareholders, the Alaska Natives. Kavilco Incorporated is one of the smallest village corporations incorporated within the Sealaska region.
Kasaan Haidas were entitled to 23,040 acres of land near the City of Kasaan pursuant to the laws of ANCSA. November 11, 1973, marked the starting point for 120 original shareholders certified as eligible to enroll as residents of Kasaan. Through the diligence and efforts of Willard L. Jones, Robert I. Olsen, Louis A. Thompson, Rosemarie Young Ramiskey, and Robert R. Young, Kavilco was incorporated. The initial Board of Directors consisted of Della A. Dukes, Willard L. Jones, Robert O. Olsen, Estelle I. Thompson, Louis A. Thompson, Rosemarie Young Ramiskey, and Robert R. Young.
Kavilco believes that ANCSA was a progressive step forward in the best interests of the Native people because it broke with the traditional paternalistic governmental approach to dealing with the Native situation. The success or failure of “for profit” corporations was put directly into the hands of Native leaders with no interference from governmental agencies.
Kavilco has faced nearly 40 years of challenges, insight, and success, but the single event that stands out in Kavilco’s history was the shareholders vote to make dividends and land the top priority of the Corporation. To that end, Kavilco has focused its corporate strategy on achieving financial performance rather than accomplishing social goals in order to provide its shareholders with the best possible financial returns.
In 1980, it was General Manager Robert Sanders’ strategy, along with the Board’s vision and approval to invest in the financial markets that has translated into exceptional dividend distributions for original shareholders and their descendants. The Corporation conveyed one and one-half non-taxable acres of land to each original shareholder in 1985.
In 1989, Kavilco filed as a Registered Investment Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This strategy has reduced income tax liability for shareholders, as well as the Corporation, and requires a distribution of 90% of earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends.
Kavilco Field Office in Kasaan, Alaska c. 1980s.
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