Alaska Native corporations raise record revenue, report finds

Alaska's 12 regional Native corporations doubled the size of their business operations between 2004 and 2008, a new report shows.

The regional corporations -- with home bases ranging from Juneau to Barrow -- generated $6.9 billion in revenue in 2008, the most recent year for which data from all of the firms was available.

That's a record amount -- an 18 percent increase in revenue from 2007 and a more than 100 percent increase since 2004, according to the report released Monday by the ANCSA Regional Association, a league of the regional corporations created by Congress in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The 1971 federal law settled Native claims to most of Alaska's land, creating the Native-owned companies and seeding them with land and cash.

It took decades, but the regional corporations and some village corporations also created by ANCSA have become dominant figures in the Alaska business scene, with their hands in many industries, including mining, construction, oil and gas development and government contracting. The companies' reach has expanded to the Lower 48 and overseas, to a large extent due to their contracting business, which has flourished under by the U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(a) program. The program enables Native firms and tribes to bid for federal contracts of any size -- some without competitive bidding.

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