Alaska Native land-claims leader dies

July 11, 2014 

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- Don Wright, an Alaska Native leader who was a force behind a landmark tribal lands compensation law, has died at age 84.

Wright died July 5, according to a release by the family that was distributed by Doyon Ltd., the Fairbanks-based regional Native corporation. Wright died in Kenai, a Doyon spokeswoman said.

Wright was head of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1971 when then-President Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act into law, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The law compensated Alaska Natives for loss of lands. It led to establishment of regional and village Native corporations with the right to select 44 million acres and appropriated $962.5 million to them.

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