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Alaska Native land-claims settlement leader dies at 84

Alaska Native leader Don Wright, who was a force behind a landmark tribal lands compensation law, has died at age 84.

A release by the family that was distributed by Doyon Ltd., the Fairbanks-based regional Native corporation, says Wright died July 5.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://is.gd/pLJ7Vo) 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 law compensated Alaska Natives for loss of lands historically used. It led to establishment of regional and village Native corporations with the right to select 44 million acres of land and appropriated $962.5 million to them.

Doyon, one of 13 regional Native corporations created under the law, says Wright was a champion for Alaska.

Wright's funeral will take place July 26 in Nenana.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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