Shareholder 101

What is an at-large shareholder?

When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was enacted on December 18, 1971, in order to receive benefits under the act, individuals were required to “enroll.”

Enrollment was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA reviewed applications, determined whether an applicant met the eligibility requirements (including the requirement of being at least one-quarter blood quantum Alaska Native, a U.S. citizen and alive on December 18, 1971) and decided into which ANCSA regional corporation the eligible person would be enrolled.

Similarly, to become an ANCSA-certified village or group corporation, an enrollment area had to meet certain federal eligibility requirements. Ultimately, some of the enrollment areas did not qualify as ANCSA villages or groups — which meant that the people who enrolled from those areas became shareholders only in their regional corporation, while those who enrolled from qualifying areas enrolled into their ANCSA village corporation,
in addition to their regional corporation.

So what’s the difference between an original shareholder who was enrolled into a regional corporation only, and an original shareholder who was enrolled into both a regional corporation and an ANCSA village corporation? Initially, the regional-only shareholder was known as an “at-large” shareholder, and received 100 shares of at-large stock in his or her respective corporation. Shareholders who were enrolled into ANCSA village corporations received 100 shares of village corporation stock as well as 100 shares of villageclass stock in the regional corporation.

The categories “at-large shareholder” and “village shareholder” have become less definitive over time, though. If someone owns at-large shares, he or she can still be considered an at-large shareholder. But due to gifting and inheritance, some ANCSA regional corporation shareholders now own both at-large and village-class shares of stock in the regional corporation.

What does this mean for you? Well, the way CIRI pays out its resource revenue distribution depends on the type of shares a shareholder owns — which we’ll take a look at next month in Shareholder 101.