• The Aborigine in Comparative Law: Subnational Report on Alaska Natives

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1986-08)
      This paper describes the current state of aboriginal rights in Alaska and the impact of federal and state laws and policies on Alaska Native political and legal rights, tribal status, self-determination, and access to tribal lands. Topics covered include the legal determination of Alaska Native identity, the legal status of Alaska Native groups, Alaska Native land rights, sovereignty and self-government, subsistence, recognition of family and kinship structures, the criminal justice system in rural Alaska, customary versus formal legal process, and human rights and equality before the law.
    • Avoidance of the Federal Acknowledgment Process: Two Hundred New Petitioners Waiting at the Door

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1988-11)
      Two hundred plus Native villages in Alaska may join the legion of Indian groups in the long line before the gates of the federal acknowledgment process established by Congress to alleviate and rationalize selection of those groups deserving of acknowledgment as Indian tribes. Such a possibility might well seem absurd to those who have studied the pre-contact or modern lifestyle of Alaska Indians, Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut. Their significant commitment to subsistence, their political autonomy in pursuit of a modern Native land claims settlement, and their continuing residence in rural and traditional settings has long been a matter of both academic and political record. Yet for all of this, recent court opinions by the Alaska Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as a flurry of federal district court decisions, have questioned whether Alaska Native villages were and are historical tribes and whether Congress had recognized them. The State of Alaska has taken a uniformly hostile position to the proposition that Alaska Native Villages are self-governing tribal entities. The author explores the historical reasons leading to this situation and calls for the legal and historical research critical to the survival of the legal identities of tribal communities and their land base.
    • From Land Rights to Sovereignty: Curious Parallels between Alaskan and Canadian Indigenous Peoples

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-11)
      Alaska Natives and Canadian aboriginal peoples have been late bloomers in securing land claims based on aboriginal title and its extinguishment. While the reasons for this delay relate to the discrete development of Indian policy in each country, both groups now find themselves seeking explicit governmental authority to regulate this domain. Despite the juridical premise that only those groups capable of controlling land have aboriginal claims to cede and/or extinguish, modern groups must secure federal confirmation of their sovereign powers. Barriers in each country are similar; so are the strategies employed.
    • The Interrelationship between Alaska State Law and the Social Systems of Modern Eskimo Villages in Alaska: History, Present and Future Considerations

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1985-08)
      Yup'ik and Inupiat villages in Alaska (the territory and the state) experienced a process of legal socialization that was strongly influenced by serious constraints in the allocation of resources. These constraints resulted in legal socialization into what was in essence a second legal state system and provided an opportunity for cultural autonomy by Eskimo villages, even though this de facto situation did not recognize these groups as sovereign tribes. The actual implementation of a single full-blown legal system in village Alaska in the mid-1970s has resulted in a loss of control and serious efforts by Alaska villages to reinstitute village law ways as tribal legal process.
    • Retribalization as a Strategy for Achievement of Group and Individual Social Security in Alaska Native Villages — with a Special Focus on Subsistence [paper]

      Conn, Stephen; Langdon, Steve J. (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1986-06-02)
      Alaska Native groups have adopted a strategy of seeking general welfare, including social security, through retribalization — a term of dual meaning discussed in this paper. The paper aims to describe the historical developments leading to the adoption of this strategy, explain its nature and the various forms which it takes, and assess its potential for the achievement of the general welfare of Alaska Natives.
    • Smooth the Dying Pillow: Alaska Natives and Their Destruction [original paper]

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1988-07)
      The policy for Native self-determination in Alaska developed by the Congress and the state has sought to replace a tribal model of governance with a body of legislation which confirms land rights without the direct political involvement of Alaska Native villages. However, the author argues, the absence of tribes as formal political structures has contributed to a loss of self-determination among Alaska Natives and to serious negative effects on Native village life.
    • State Enforcement of Alaska Native Tribal Law: The Congressional Mandate of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

      Conn, Stephen; Garber, Bart Kaloa (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-10-27)
      Law journals, newspapers, and the courts all document Native unrest and dissatisfaction with state management of Native subsistence lifestyles. It is the thesis of this paper that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) requires the state to discover and incorporate community-derived tribal law — customs and traditions regarding the taking and gathering of wild, renewable resources — as the applicable minimum federal standard to the extent that conservation of the resource permits.
    • Why Canadian Indian Law Is Important to Alaskans, Why Indian Law in Alaska Is Important to Canada

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1990-04)
      Federal policy governing indigenous peoples in Canada has been marked by repeated glances south and west (at Alaska) as it has been formed through parliamentary edict, case law and Constitutional entrenchment. Although rooted in a common Crown policy, the discrete history of Canadian policy has diverged from American practice even as the country's historical and its political development have diverged. Unlike United States policy, the underpinnings of Canadian Indian law as it related to aboriginal title land rights and the limits and potential of tribal sovereignty are only now coming into focus. This belated articulation of Indian rights parallels similar developments in Alaska where land rights and tribal rights are only now being defined. In both Alaska and Canada, hunting and fishing rights and tribal governance are political and legal matters whose impact on resource development and control by provinces and states make neat application of older Indian law concepts less predictable. Cases in either place offer guidance to federal courts in either country within a modern debate over public land rights. The author suggests that attorneys in each place monitor case law and legislation only now emerging.