By all applicable laws of the United States (tribal, state, federal), most importantly by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA; 1971, 1987 Amendments), the largest indigenous legislation in American history, I am Alaska Native/Native American. I am an enrolled member of Ahtna, Inc. and the Traditional Native Village of Tazlina, a tribe recognized by the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The State of Alaska issued me a license (based on federal laws) authorizing me to create and sell art as authentic Native handicraft. For years, I was the tribally-appointed executive director of the Ahtna Heritage Foundation. In addition, I am one of the last speakers on earth of our severely endangered Native language, having learned it from every elder who spoke Ahtna. In 1998, I published a dictionary of our language. (Click on dictionaries on the menu to watch Youtube episodes of me teaching Ahtna.) In 1999, Ahtna Chief Harry Johns held a special ceremony to designate me a Traditional Ahtna Culture Bearer, a term usually reserved for elders with significant cultural knowledge. These facts should satisfy any curious person about my ethnicity. So what is the controversy?
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