Out of the Settlement Act were formed 250 village corporations and 13 regional corporations in Alaska. Having started out as land developers, they have leveraged their highly valuable land rights and diversified into a raft of other business activities.

This diversification, coupled with a clever investment approach, has built Alaskan native corporations into multi-million-dollar entities that are driving economic growth and real estate development in Alaska and beyond. Although three-quarters of their shareholders are still in Alaska, their eyes are on the broader US and global market.

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Margie Brown, president and chief executive officer of Cook Inlet Region, Inc (CIRI) since 2005, encapsulates this dynamism. Owned by more than 7000 Alaska Native shareholders and led by the energetic Ms Brown, CIRI is aggressively pursuing real estate development opportunities, including office, retail, residential and mixed-use developments on its properties in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Texas and other states.

The company is also developing and exploring oil, gas, coal, gravel and wind power projects on its lands in Alaska.