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Contracts fail lift Alaskan natives from poverty while others profit

A program created by the federal government four decades ago to settle native land claims in Alaska has failed deliver on its promise to lift impoverished native Alaskans out of poverty. Though special privileges granted by Congress have launched Alaska native corporations into one of the great contracting booms in American history, a Washington Post investigation found that native shareholders have gotten relatively little of the federal contracting dollars. Instead, millions of dollars have gone in many cases has gone to nonnative executives, managers, employees and traditional federal contractors in the lower 48 states. In one example, last year, Sitnasuak Native Corp. earned profits of $14.5 million on revenue of $212 million, most of it from its Washington-based subsidiary. But the amount paid to about 2,200 native shareholders was just $305 apiece, a total of $682,000, according to a Post analysis.

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