Title

Perceptions of a proposed land exchange between a national wildlife refuge and an Alaska Native corporation : interviews with Alaska natives and non-natives

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Charles Curry-Smithson

Abstract

This study examines a proposed land exchange between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Doyon, Ltd., an Alaska Native corporation located in Fairbanks, Alaska. In the first phase of the proposed land exchange, Doyon would obtain lands from USFWS and the USFWS would acquire Doyon lands with waterfowl habitat values. In the second phase, if Doyon generates oil and gas, the USFWS would collect production payments, leading to the purchase of more land in the wildlife refuge. The target of this study is to obtain a better understanding of the proposed land exchange issue from a variety of perspectives by encouraging interviewees to express what they felt about the issue. Six Alaska Native and six non-Native individuals, or stakeholders were interviewed. The respondents represented three interest groups: land holders, Alaska Native groups, and a local environmental organization. The data was analyzed by identifying meaning units or categories based on what was said during the interviews. Four conclusions were drawn from the study. First, community members say they want to be included in the decision making process regarding development projects in their regions. Second, alternative sustainable development projects in the Yukon Flats region need to be considered. Third, the study reveals that there are more questions being raised over the proposed land exchange since the public commentary period has been extended. Last, a unique relationship between governmental agencies and the Native tribes continues to exist. In summary, this study examines a proposed land exchange through gathered perceptions from a select number of respondents. Data was analyzed and conclusions were drawn based on what was said during the interviews.

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