Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I notify NIMA of a name change?

A: If a shareholder has a legal name change, he or she should submit written notification of the name change with a copy of the legal document authorizing the change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree specifically restoring former name, adoption decree, etc.) to the NIMA Corporation Office.

The NIMA CORPORATION accepts the following documents:

1. A copy of a legal document stating the change
2. Marriage certificate
3. Divorce decree
4. Adoption certificate
5. Birth certificate
6. Drivers license or state ID card showing the change

Q: Can NIMA CORPORATION shares be sold?

A: The ANCSA amendments passed by Congress in 1988 continued the restrictions on the sale of stock indefinitely unless brought to a shareholder vote by the board of directors or by a petition of 25 percent of the shareholders. Shareholders would have to vote to approve an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation to remove the restrictions on the sale of stock.

Q: Where can I obtain a Certification of Indian Blood?

A: To obtain a Certificate of Indian Blood, contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs at 3601 "C" Street, Suite 1100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. Their phone number is (907) 271-3519 or toll-free at 1-800-645-8465.

Q: How do I change my address?

A: If a shareholder wants to change their address, he or she must complete the NIMA Corporation PERSONAL DATA FORM and mail it to either NIMA Corporation office.

If a shareholder is also a custodian, he or she must list each of their wards, so an address change may also be made for them. Each shareholder, over the age of 18, must provide a PERSONAL DATA FORM with their written signature consent. For example, a husband and wife must both complete a PERSONAL DATA FORM separately; the parents cannot sign these documents for the child after the child has turned 18.

For a printable PERSONAL DATA FORM, click here.

Q: How do I run for the Board of Directors?

A: Any shareholder who is eligible and who wishes to run as a candidate for a seat on the Board of Directors of the NIMA Corporation at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting must complete and return a nominating petition and questionnaire to the Anchorage office. You may contact either the Mekoryuk or Anchorage office for a Candidate Package.

Q: How much are shares of stock in NIMA worth?

A: Unlike other American corporations, shares of stock issued pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) cannot be bought or sold on the stock market. They cannot be pledged as collateral to obtain a loan, or subjected to a lien or judgment execution, assigned in present or future, or treated as an asset under title 11, insolvency or moratorium laws, or other laws that generally affect creditors' rights. There is no cash surrender value for NIMA shares. NIMA has not received a patent to all of the land assets to which it is entitled through ANCSA. The US Bureau of Land Management has not officially surveyed the land that has been conveyed to NIMA, and all of NIMA's land has not been appraised. ANCSA lands retain tax-free status as long as the land remains undeveloped, so NIMA's Board of Directors and Management carefully plan its development. As land is developed and NIMA begins earning revenues, the land value is booked as an asset to the corporation. This does not mean that undeveloped land has no value; that value just is too difficult to determine at this time.

Q: Can I sell my shares of stock in NIMA?

A: No, shares of stock issued under ANCSA cannot be traded or sold unless stock restrictions are lifted by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the corporation's outstanding voting shares.

Q: What is ANCSA?

A: The United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) on December 18, 1971, officially extinguishing aboriginal claims on public lands in the State of Alaska and giving birth to a new breed of business: the Alaska Native corporation. The Act conveyed 44 million acres of land to the Alaska Native people and paid a cash settlement of nearly $1 billion. The catch? Both the land conveyances and the cash payments were made to infant profit corporations formed in compliance with ANCSA to manage its proceeds. There were thirteen regional corporations and a list of 204 village corporations at the beginning. The Law conveyed acreage of surface estate to the village corporations and the subsurface to the villages' corresponding regional corporations. NIMA was formed pursuant to ANCSA in 1973.

Q: Why is ANCSA Stock restricted?

A: ANCSA requirements for stock restrictions were implemented as a means to protect corporate assets, particularly the land itself, and to ensure that all assets remain under Native control. Once an ANCSA corporation loses control of the land, it will probably be impossible to get it back. The land is our ancestral home and our legacy to future generations.

Q: How do dividends work?

A: A company makes a profit when it earns money above and beyond expenses for its operation. All or a portion of profit may be reinvested back into the company for growth as a contribution to the business' future performance. A portion of the profit may be distributed as a dividend to its shareholders. NIMA's Board of Directors has set a policy on this ratio to benefit the shareholders in both the short and long terms. The Board of Directors examines the financial results of NIMA's business at the meeting following the close of the financial quarter. A dividend may or may not be declared, depending on NIMA's financial health. Once a dividend is declared, checks are processed at any time.

Q: Does NIMA assist with funeral expenses?

A: Yes, please see the shareholder services page for additional information.

Q: Does NIMA offer medical assistance to its shareholders?

A: No, NIMA cannot offer medical assistance to its shareholders. Shareholders who are 1/4 of Alaska Native blood can receive health care through the Indian Health Service.

Q: What happens if a shareholder dies without a will designating an heir to ANCSA shares of stock?

A: If there is no existing stock will or formal will, Alaska State law will determine the disposition of the deceased shareholder's stock through intestate succession. The laws of intestate succession dictate that:

If the deceased shareholder was married but had no surviving issue (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren), the surviving spouse shall receive 100% of the shares.

If the deceased shareholder was married and has surviving issue, the surviving spouse shall receive 50% of the shares, and the remaining 50% will be divided equally between the surviving issue.

When there is no surviving spouse, the shares of stock are divided equally between the surviving issue, and if there is no surviving spouse OR issue, then the stock is equally divided between the surviving parents of the deceased shareholder.
If there are no surviving spouses, issues, or parents, the stock is divided equally between surviving siblings. If there are no surviving spouses, issues, parents, or siblings, then the stock is equally divided between surviving nieces and nephews.

If a shareholder qualifies and is entitled to receive the deceased's stock, the AFFIDAVIT: FOR DETERMINATION OF TIGHTS TO RECEIVE ANCSA STOCK must be completed and returned to the NIMA Corporation office. For a printable AFFIDAVIT: FOR DETERMINATION OF RIGHT TO RECEIVE ANCSA STOCK form, click here.

Q: Does NIMA give shareholders business or other types of loans?

A: No. NIMA does not offer loans of any kind to shareholders. Persons with 1/4 of Alaska Native blood can contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In Alaska, call (800) 645-8465.

Q: What does NIMA do for its shareholders besides pay dividends?

A: Aside from paying dividends to its shareholders, NIMA Corporation benefits shareholders, their descendants, and the community as a whole in many ways. NIMA manages all of the lands conveyed to the Corporation through ANCSA. The Board of Directors strives to achieve the highest and best use of NIMA's land through planning, all with an eye toward the future and future generations of shareholders. NIMA's land contains innumerable sites of archaeological importance that NIMA protects from pot hunters to the full extent of the Law. NIMA is also cognizant of sites that may become endangered by development or the elements and is may be involved in the process of systematic excavation resulting in the proper care and careful study of the artifacts. NIMA also provides scholarships to NIMA shareholders and their descendants.

Q: Can shareholders attend meetings of the NIMA Board of Directors?

A: The Law allows shareholders to attend meetings of corporate boards, but it is at the discretion of the board. It is a general policy that NIMA's Board of Directors' meetings are closed meetings due to the confidential nature of some of its proceedings, and this policy is also consistent with the Law. However, NIMA's Board of Directors has never denied a request for a shareholder to address the board for a specific purpose.

Q: What are the requirements for becoming a director?

A: You must be eligible to vote in elections held by NIMA. That means you must be a shareholder with voting shares, and you must be eighteen (18) years of age.

Q: What are the powers and duties of the Board of Directors?

A: The Board of Directors works to meets on a quarterly basis to conduct business. At each meeting, the financial results of the corporation's business are analyzed, and the board reviews material on any number of items that might require Board approval. It takes a lot of preparation to be knowledgeable and effective at the meetings, and the directors work very hard. In addition, they must attend work sessions and special meetings. Following are some duties and behavior expected of each and every director of NIMA.

A. When a Director has any significant personal interest in any matter coming before the board, the director shall disclose the nature of such interest and abstain from voting on the issue.

B. Each Director will be held to the highest standards of conduct during the consideration of the corporation's business.

C. Each Director will take all necessary and appropriate steps to familiarize himself/herself with the business affairs of the corporation.

D. Each Director has a fiduciary commitment - a trust relationship - for the benefit of the corporation and its shareholders.

E. Each Director's duty will be to the entire body of shareholders and not to anyone shareholder or group.

F. Each Director must work for the benefit of the corporation, which shall prevail over any other interest.

G. Information affecting ongoing negotiations, contracts, and other matters related to the corporation's business shall not be divulged except as required to conduct the corporation's business.

H. Each Director must abide by Federal and State Law applicable to the corporation and the director's duty to the corporation and its shareholders.

I. Each Director must be in compliance with Article VII of By-laws relative to Confidentiality.

J. The Directors are expected to be in attendance at each meeting, prepared to conduct the serious business of the corporation.

K. Directors are expected to attend all Board meetings in their entirety. If a Director is unable to attend the full Board meeting, he or she must receive approval from the Chairman prior to the beginning of the meeting. Those Directors who do not attend the full Board meeting and do not secure the approval of the Chairman in advance will not receive any fee for attending the meeting and may be held responsible for the cost of their return ticket (if any).

L. Any statement made by a Director expressing personal views regarding the corporation must be clearly identified as an individual statement of opinion and not necessarily that of the board. In any case, extreme care should be taken to protect the integrity of the board and the Confidentiality of the corporation's business.

Q: What kind of rights do shareholders have?

A: The most important right a shareholder in NIMA has is the right to vote, and the most important voting right is the election of directors. A full turn-over of the Board of Directors can happen in three short years. Shareholders have the right to amend the Articles of Incorporation or the By-laws of the corporation, can impose or remove stock restrictions, and in extreme situations, can approve or reject a dissolution of the corporation and the sale of all or substantially all of its assets. Shareholders can also approve or reject a settlement trust. Shareholders are entitled to receive dividends determined by the Board of Directors and to a prorated distribution of assets should in the extreme event that the corporation is dissolved.

Q: How did "1991 Amendments" to ANCSA improve several protections for Native corporations?

A: In 1988, a group of amendments to ANCSA became Law. Popularly known as the "1991 Amendments," these laws offer some crucial protections for ANCSA corporations. For instance, undeveloped land cannot be taxed, taken through adverse possession, creditors, bankruptcy, or dissolution. Stock restrictions remain unless shareholders vote to remove them. ANCSA corporations may issue stock to shareholders' descendants if approved by shareholders and can create a settlement trust. Eligibility for welfare and other entitlements is not affected by ANCSA corporation dividends unless dividends exceed $2,000 in one year.

Q: Estate Settlement/Wills

A: Alaska law provides that NIMA Corporation stock is subject to special probate or estate settlement procedures. NIMA is required to determine the proper heirs of NIMA stock in accordance with any valid will the shareholder may have executed that is applicable to the stock, or -- if no such will exists -- under Alaska laws on intestate succession. A copy of a shareholder's will, which includes provision for his or her NIMA stock, should be on file with the NIMA Shareholder Affairs Department. NIMA has a simple will form available that applies only to NIMA stock. Alternatively, the disposition of NIMA stock can be effected through the provisions of a general will by specifically including language disposing of the stock. A shareholder may wish to consult an attorney regarding an appropriate will for individual circumstances.

For a printable Stock Will for NIMA Corporation Shares, click here.

Q: Gifting Shares

A: The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) permits ANCSA stock to be transferred as a gift from a holder to siblings or lineal descendants (child, grandchild, great-grandchild, niece, nephew) if the holder has reached the age of majority (18). The recipient of shares transferred by such a gift must be a Native or a descendant of a Native who is related to the Gift or by blood or adoption and not simply by marriage.

To transfer shares as a Gift, two (2) forms must be completed by the shareholder. The STOCK GIFT RECIPIENT ELIGIBILITY FORM must be completed for each person receiving the shares, and the GIFT OF THE NIMA CORPORATION SETTLEMENT COMMON STOCK form must be completed and notarized.

For a printable STOCK GIFT RECIPIENT Eligibility Form, click here.