Frequently Asked Questions - Enrollment
Important Message Regarding Descendants Born Before December 18, 1971Sealaska cannot issue stock to descendants who were born before December 18, 1971 who are less than 1/4 Alaska Native unless the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) is amended to authorize a new class of shares and another shareholder vote.
We would need the support of other ANCSA regional corporations to make this happen. That is highly unlikely, as half of them have not authorized descendant stock at all.
For the foreseeable future, descendants born before December 18, 1971 whose blood quantum is less than one quarter will need to rely on the gifting program and inheritance of original shares.
Q: Where do I get a CIB?
A: A CIB can be obtained through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). You will need to contact the BIA office and have a certificate request form mailed to you. The office can tell you whether you need to provide just your birth certificate, or your Indian parents' or Indian grandparents' birth certificates as well. For questions about your birth certificate, please visit our Certificates page.
BIA Alaska Regional Office (Juneau)
P.O. Box 25520
709 West 9th Street
Juneau, AK 99802
BIA Alaska Regional Office (Anchorage)
3601 C Street, Suite 1100
Anchorage, AK 99503-5947
Please note: You can fax the BIA only to request forms. Completed CIB forms require original signatures, so completed forms will NOT be accepted via fax. Fill out your forms and then mail them to the appropriate office.
Q: If I already own shares as a descendant (through gifting or inheritance) can I still enroll and receive 100 new shares?
A: Yes, as long as you are qualified, you would receive 100 shares of Class D Stock after approval of a completed and valid application. These will be in addition to any original shares you already own. The original shares received through gifting or inheritance could continue to be passed on by gift or inheritance, but the Class D Stock cannot.
Q: What are life estate shares?
A: Life estate shares only exist for the lifetime of the shareholder to whom they have been issued. This stock ceases to exist upon the death of that shareholder, and thus the shares cannot be passed along by gifting or inheritance. The number of life estate shares owned by the shareholder who has passed away is removed from the total of shares issued by Sealaska.
Q: Will I receive past distributions?
A: No. New shareholders will be eligible only for distributions released after their applications have been approved and stock has been issued, not for retroactive distributions. You must also be a shareholder by the Record Date for any future distribution. The Record Date is a few weeks prior to each distribution and confirms the shareholders of record eligible to receive a given distribution.
Q: What is the financial impact on Sealaska if I enroll?
A: The financial impact of enrolling descendants on future distributions depends upon the number of eligible descendants who enroll. Having more shareholders will mean that dividends will be distributed among a larger number of individuals and may result in smaller distributions to original shareholders. However, the shares issued to descendants and Leftouts do not receive ANCSA Section 7(j) revenues. This protects a portion of the distributions of original shareholders who do receive those Section 7(j) payments.
Q: Will my distributions continue to get smaller as more descendants enroll?
A: The initial enrollment of shareholder descendants will have the largest impact on the dividend distributions. The open enrollment process means that descendants will continue to enroll upon turning 18, and the shareholder base will keep growing. Available funds for dividends will therefore be distributed to an increasing number of shareholders. However, when holders of life estate shares pass on, their shares are cancelled, so, over time, some shares are added while some are cancelled. In addition, financial conditions could be such that Sealaska might be able to provide larger than historic distributions even with the addition of new shareholders. There are no guarantees of such financial performance.
Q: If I enroll this year, will I be eligible to receive the next distribution?
A: Any eligible applicant will only receive their shares after completion and submission of the required documents, and approval by the Corporation of those documents. It is estimated it will take several weeks or more to process each application once it is received by Sealaska. Processing your application will take longer if it is not filled out completely or is missing any required information. Shares must be issued by the distribution Record Date in order for the applicant to be a “shareholder of record” with the Corporation. The Record Date is generally two weeks prior to the date of a distribution. You must be issued your shares before the Record Date of the distribution to be eligible to receive payment.
Q: I don’t turn 18 for another few years. What can I do?
A: Make sure you meet all the other eligibility requirements. You can begin to acquire thedocuments and information necessary to apply as a shareholder descendant so that you are fully prepared to submit your application once you turn 18. These include a certified original birth certificate; a Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alaska Region; and the Shareholder Identification Number of the parent, grandparent or great-grandparent from whom you are a direct lineal descendant.
Q: When will I begin receiving distribution checks?
A: You will be eligible for payment on your shares only after the shares have been properly issued by the Corporation. You must submit a completed application, which must be approved by the Corporation after a processing time that could be several weeks. You will only be eligible for distribution checks on dates after the issuance of your stock, and you must be a shareholder on the Record Date a few weeks prior to any corporate distribution.
Q: What is ANCSA?
A: ANCSA is the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which Congress enacted effective December 18, 1971; amendments to ANCSA in 1987 permit Native corporations to issue shares to descendants of shareholders, to Elders, and to Leftouts. For more information, please visit our ANCSA Resources page.
Q: What is life estate stock?
A: This is a class of stock that only exists while the shareholder is alive. Life estate shares cease to exist upon the death of the shareholder. The stock will be cancelled without compensation and will no longer impact the distributions to all other shareholders. Life estate stock cannot be gifted or inherited.
Q: What is a direct lineal descendant?
A: A person who is the child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc. of an original Sealaska shareholder; descendants must be able to trace a direct ancestor as an original Sealaska shareholder.
Q: What are gifted shares?
A: Shares that a shareholder has given to a child, grandchild, great grandchild, brother, sister, niece or nephew; if the recipient has Native blood, the shares remain voting shares.
Q: What are inherited shares?
A: Original shares that have passed, either by will or by law, upon the death of the original shareholder; if the heir has Native blood, the shares remain voting shares.
Q: What is perpetual enrollment?
A: Enrollment with no closing date; the Corporation would continually enroll descendants and Leftouts who meet the eligibility requirements. In other words, there would be no enrollment closure but rather ongoing enrollment of qualified applicants.