The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) was founded in 1935 and was the first federally recognized tribal government representing the Tlingit and Haida people. It was founded in response to efforts and actions undertaken by the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood in their effort to obtain a representative and federally recognized tribal government. An initial function of the Central Council was to bring suit against the United States for aboriginal claims. The Central Council believed the federal government had unfairly taken lands from Native people in Alaska when it created the Tongass National Forest, Glacier Bay National Monument, and the Annette Island Reservation. The Central Council believed the land taken from the Tlingit and Haida was worth $80 million. The government valued the land at $3 million. A court-appointed commissioner estimated the land to be worth $16 million. The Tlingit and Haida were only awarded $7.5 million, however, as it was all the government was willing to pay. William L. Paul, the first Alaska Native lawyer, noted that the value of the timber sold from their forests totaled more than $600 million alone and recommended an appeal. But in 1968 the Central Council accepted the award. Claims for the remaining 2.5 million acres, which included hunting and fishing grounds, were carried over to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.
The Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded in 1912. Originally, there were thirteen members: twelve men and one woman. By the mid-1920s, there were chapters, or camps, in many Tlingit villages, and an affiliate organization, the Alaska Native Sisterhood. The brotherhood and sisterhood fought for the rights of Alaska Natives. Their efforts were helped when brothers Louis and William Paul joined the brotherhood. These two men led many of the legal and political battles for the organization.