Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Barry Jackson

Barry Jackson

Barry Jackson was an attorney in Fairbanks, Alaska who is most known for representing Alaska Natives during negotiations with Congress over the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act during the late 1960s and 1970s. He was born in 1930, was a retired Marine Corps Major, and earned a bachelors degree in political science in 1952 and a law degree in 1958 both from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He visited Alaska in 1957, while still in law school, and ended up making it his permanent home. Barry served as Fairbanks city attorney during the early years of statehood and later opened his own law practice, handling a wide variety of issues. He served as a Democrat representative in the Alaska legislature from 1965-1966 and 1969-1970 and became an outspoken advocate for the recognition of Native land rights. Barry Jackson did legal work for the Fairbanks Native Association, the Nenana Tribal Council, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and in 1967 for the newly formed statewide Alaska Federation of Natives. As one of the drafters of the ANCSA legislation, Barry has been credited with the idea for Native corporations as the mechanism for distributing land and money. However, there continues to be debate about where this idea really came from and whether it has been a good one. According to Jackson, the corporate model mirrored existing tribal organization and governance, and was an alternative to the reservations in the Lower 48 that allowed Alaska Natives to become independent and free from the control of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. However, he felt that the settlement was not perfect, and that it was the best compromise they could achieve given the circumstances of the time and the options available to them. Barry Jackson passed away in 2018 at the age of 88.

For more about Barry Jackson and his role in the land claims movement, see the article, "Barry Jackson, who suggested Native corporation model, dies at 88" by Dermot Cole on his "Reporting from Alaska" website, an article "R.I.P Barry Jackson, 1930-2018" on the "Wickersham's Conscience" blog, and oral history interviews with Jackson in the Oral History Collection at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Donald Mitchell Oral Histories 1971-1999 collection (HMC-1999) in the Archives and Special Collections, UAA/APU Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Date of Death:
Jul 31, 2018
Barry Jackson appears in the following new Jukebox projects: