• Alaska's North Slope Borough Revisited

      Knapp, Gunnar; Morehouse, Thomas (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1991)
      Alaska's North Slope Borough, established in 1972, is in many ways a unique institution of Native-controlled local government in the north. The borough represents a significant case study of Native self-determination under unusually favorable conditions: indigenous, local control of both resource wealth and political power. The North Slope Borough has been the instrument by which the Inupiat of the North Slope have successfully captured and used the oil wealth in their region, with clear economic and political benefits. They have gained high levels of local public services, jobs, and incomes; and effective representation in negotiations with external corporate and government authorities. The borough has also helped to preserve and adapt critical elements of traditional Inupiat culture. Costs of development and change under North Slope Borough leadership have included waste and inefficiency as well as crime and corruption. Centralized power in borough headquarters has reduced the independence of the borough villages and encouraged borough · citizens to act like clients and consumers. The Borough economy remains dependent upon uncertain tax revenues from the oil industry, with uncertain future employment opportunities for a rapidly growing Native population. North Slope Borough government has provided the Alaska arctic Inupiat with means to greater political self-sufficiency. Overall, the North Slope Borough has responded effectively, under great pressure, to the opportunities and the problems that petroleum development has brought to the region.