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Sealaska dividends total close to $12 million

Sealaska Plaza, left, in Juneau is home to the regional Native corporation’s headquarters. Winter dividends will be sent out or deposited starting Dec. 6. (Casey Kelly/KTOO)

Sealaska Plaza, left, in Juneau is home to the regional Native corporation’s headquarters. Winter dividends will be sent out or deposited starting Dec. 6. (Casey Kelly/KTOO)

Most Sealaska shareholders will get a $713 check or direct deposit in about two weeks.

This year’s winter distribution to stockholders totals $11.7 million. The Juneau-headquartered regional Native corporation has nearly 22,000 tribal members. Most live in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.

Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh says the twice-a-year distributions strengthen regional communities.

“Since inception, Sealaska has paid more than a half billion dollars total to shareholders and village corporations,” he says.

The majority of stockholders own 100 shares. Payments differ due to status.

Those also enrolled in an urban Native corporation, such as Juneau’s Goldbelt Inc., receive $713. So are those only enrolled in Sealaska.

Shareholders also enrolled in a village corporation, such as Prince of Wales Island’s Klawock Heenya, will get $71.

The difference is income from a pool of regional Native corporations’ natural-resource earnings.

Sealaska pays that directly to urban shareholders, as part of their dividends. But it pays the resource revenues to village corporations, which decide whether to pass them on to shareholders.

Descendents of original shareholders also only get $71 per 100 shares.

And elders in any category receive an extra $71.

Sealaska will mail or direct-deposit dividends beginning December 6th.

Some shareholders say the dividends are too small. They point to the fact that only about 10 percent of the payments come from Sealaska operations and investments.

“Let us not fight of the tiny piece of pie Sealaska chooses to distribute; let us work together to elect a board interested in growing the pie,” says critic Brad Fluetsch on a shareholders’ Facebook page.

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