In 1968, the Atlantic-Richfield Company discovered oil at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic coast, catapulting the issue of land ownership into headlines. In order to lessen the difficulty of drilling at such a remote location and transporting the oil to the lower 48 states, the best solution seemed to be building a pipeline to carry the oil across Alaska to the port of Valdez, built on the ruins of the previous town. At Valdez, the oil would be loaded onto tanker ships and sent by water to the contiguous states. The plan was approved, but a permit to construct the pipeline, which would cross lands involved in the native dispute, could not be granted until the Native claims had been settled.
With major petroleum dollars on the line, there was a new urgency for an agreement, and, in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law by President Nixon, which abrogated Native claims to aboriginal lands. In return, they received up to 44 million acres (180,000 km2) of land and were paid $963 million. The land and money were divided among regional, urban, and village corporations. The settlement compensated the Natives for the collaborative use of their lands and opened the way for all Alaskans to profit from oil, one of the state's largest natural resources.
Read more about this topic: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
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Famous quotes containing the word background:
“In the true sense ones native land, with its background of tradition, early impressions, reminiscences and other things dear to one, is not enough to make sensitive human beings feel at home.”
—Emma Goldman (18691940)
“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Pilate with his question What is truth? is gladly trotted out these days as an advocate of Christ, so as to arouse the suspicion that everything known and knowable is an illusion and to erect the cross upon that gruesome background of the impossibility of knowledge.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)