Kootznoowoo, Inc. (pronounced: Kootz' new woo) is a private corporation created through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 as a Village Corporation for Angoon, Alaska on Admiralty Island.
Kootznoowoo is the Tlingit name for Admiralty Island. Translated to English, it means Fortress of the Bears, which accurately reflects the many bears on Admiralty.
Kootznoowoo, Incorporated has three major components:
First, its core business unit, Kootznoowoo, Inc. is a private, for-profit business unit. Secondly, it has a non-profit foundation, the Kootznoowoo Cultural and Educational Foundation, which is dedicated to providing educational and vocational opportunities to Tlingit’s, as well as preserving and promotion Tlingit culture.
Kootznoowoo created and funded a permanent Fund Settlement Trust in 1994 and an Elders Trust in 1997, which is dedicated to providing distributions to present and future generations of Kootznoowoo Permanent Fund Settlement Trust, the Kootznoowoo Cultural and Educational Foundation and the Kootznoowoo, Inc. are each managed by separate Boards.
Kootznoowoo's Corporate office is located in Juneau, Alaska.
Kootznoowoo was Incorporated in the State of Alaska on November 9, 1973 with 629 stockholders, each owning 100 shares. Today, about 850 people own stock, although the original amount of share has not increased.
We have shareholder's nationwide, but a majority of our shareholder's reside in Angoon, AK.
Initially, Kootznoowoo, like every other village corporations in southeast Alaska, had the right to select a total of 23,040 acres in the immediate vicinity of its own home village. Through a series of negotiations, Kootznoowoo agreed to take entitlement to most of its lands on Prince of Wales- the third largest island in the United States (after the islands of Hawaii and Kodiak).
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), provided Kootznoowoo with the right to select 21,400 acres of timberland off Admiralty Island. In the early 1980’s, Kootznoowoo made selections in the vicinity of Chomondeley Sound on the cast side of Prince of Wales Island.
In addition, Kootznoowoo received the surface and subsurface estate to certain lands and around Angoon including a strip of shore land along Kootznoowoo Inlet, Mitchell Bay and Kanalku.
The Shore land property is owned by Kootznoowoo and managed in common with the U.S. Forest Service. In all, the corporation owns nearly 33,000 acres of ANCSA land entitlements. Kootznoowoo also acquired private title in 1988 to 1,100 acres of timberland near Centralia, Washington. The timber, all fir, will be marketable within the next decade.
Within ANILCA are sections that provided for Kootznoowoo’s off-island selection of timberlands on Prince of Wales, its acquisition of compensatory acreage in the vicinity of Angoon, creation of a wilderness area that permanently protects over 90% of the island, and, among other things, provides guarantees for the subsistence way of life practiced by many Angoon residents. Further amendments to the Act in the mid-1980’s mandated that the island sanctuary be renamed the Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area.
Kootznoowoo began developing its timber properties on Prince of Wales Island in the early 1980’s. Like many Southeast Native Corporations, Kootznoowoo had borrowed heavily to build the roads, camps and timber facilities necessary to harvest timber and export logs.
By the time Kootznoowoo’s first logs were sold, the worldwide market for timber plummeted, which pushed the corporation to the brink of financial insolvency.
Tax reform legislation of the mid=1980s allowed Native corporations to sell their net operating losses to other U.S. corporations. Due to the allowed sale of net operating losses (NOLs) Native Corporations, who just a short time ago were almost broke, now found themselves with millions of dollars.
By 1994, following the final resolution of the NOL, tax issues with the IRS, Kootznoowoo was debt free and in control of millions of Dollars. Kootznoowoo Shareholders received generous distributions of cash, and the Kootznoowoo Permanent Settlement Trust was funded.
For the last fifteen years, Kootznoowoo harvest the timber from its Prince of Wales land. The timber from these lands has been successfully and nearly completely harvested.
Like other Native Village Corporations, currently, Kootznoowoo is transitioning from a timber-oriented company into a company that has many diversified, profitable holdings, Kootznoowoo has targeted real estate, air transportation and tourism as its primary areas of interest for the future.
Implementing this plan for the future, in October of 1996 Kootznoowoo acquired the Capital Plaza building in Juneau, now named the Kootznoowoo Plaza.