At the Kodiak Island
Borough Assembly regular meeting Thursday evening, assembly members took up the
issue of Kodiak rancher Omar Stratman's appeal for an Amicus Brief to the U.S.
Supreme Court in his battle over land with a local Native group. Stratman's contesting
of Leisnoi Incorporated's right to approximately 115,000 acres of land dates
back to 1976, when the Native corporation received lands on Kodiak and Woody
islands under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.
The depth of interest in
the community to the issue was evident at the meeting, given the number of
people who spoke to the assembly under the "citizens comments" portion of the
meeting. Among those who spoke, was Iver Malutin, former President of the
Afognak Native Corporation.
really upsets me to see ... really interesting to hear.")
Stratman's son, Craig
Stratman, also spoke at the meeting, saying the issue is not a Native versus
2 52 sec. "I don't think it's my dad's ... over
them and look at them.")
Stratman's attorney, disputed Malutin's claim of a Native, non-Native fight. He
said the assembly should look at the facts of the case in making their decision
whether or not to file a brief with the high court.
3 58 sec. "There's a comment that ... 300
After a late
executive session, during which the assembly consulted with borough attorney
Matt Jamin, the assembly voted down the request. The drawn-out legal process
has resulted in several court decisions and overturns since 1976, the most
recent coming in 2008, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor