Small, indigenous communities throughout the circumpolar North have struggled to survive in the face of vacillating national policies that have not always favored their continued existence. In Alaska, the rise of regional Native for-profit and non-profit corporations threatens to displace and disenfranchise tribal governments in villages across the state. In the name of efficiency, programs and resources are being consolidated at the regional level, compromising the ability of villages to creatively forge solutions to their own problems. This consolidation of resources and administrative jobs at the regional level tends to stabilize the core while destabilizing the periphery where the majority of the population lives. As jobs leave the villages and conditions deteriorate locally, the future grows dimmer for many youth. The following paper is a case study of just one such village that defied the odds by transferring control over most major programs, services, and projects to the village level. The potential benefits of the devolution of programs and funding to the village level are described, as are the potential shortcomings. What lessons can be learned from the experience of the Native Village of Kwinhagak? Is there an alternative to increasing regionalization of program service delivery? Can villages be more effective at delivering services despite local inefficiencies? The Native Village of Kwinhagak's experience is encouraging. By directly administering federal and state programs and services and using its limited resources more strategically, the village has been able to directly target its needs in a more coordinated fashion. This has resulted in a more stable economy, more local jobs, and a greater sense of control over the village's destiny.

Related Files SUMMAR~1.XLS (157 kB)
Summary of Findings

CAPSTO~1.PPT (3378 kB)