During campaign season at Alaska Native Corporations you hear the slogan of “more dividends” in many board candidates’ speeches. Candidates promise “more dividends” and “larger dividends” when they talk to shareholders because many Alaska Native shareholders believe that the purpose of a Native corporation is to benefit its shareholders financially.
For these candidates and shareholders, large dividends are the definition of success. To them, a large dividend means the company is doing well and is fulfilling its purpose.
Likewise, no dividend or a small dividend means the corporation is struggling and is failing.
Their definition doesn’t tell the real story. Financial benefits are important, but providing them does not show a Native corporation has succeeded.
Actually, dividends are a poor measure of success. They can conflict with our values and, in some cases, can even hurt our future.
Providing dividends is not the purpose of a Native corporation.