The letters in this short collection, Letters to Howard, are signed by Naugga Ciunerput and Wally Morton, two residents of Lands End Village in the State of Alaska. The actual authors of the letters are Fred Bigjim and James Ito-Adler, who at the time were residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and students at Harvard University. As graduate students, they were both Teaching Fellows in an under-graduate course at the university, Social Sciences 152, entitled, "Native Americans in the Contemporary United States."
Not all, however, took an optimistic view. Critics feared that eventually the regionals could become conduits for larger multi-national corporations, enabling the latter to . Loss of this land would then be followed by destruction of Native culture and the rise of new class divisions mirroring those of the larger society. By this means, the government's long term goal of assimilating Alaska's Native population into the larger mainstream would finally be achieved. As summed up by Fred Bigjim, an Inupiat educator from Nome who had once been a close aide of Barrow's first mayor, , "What is happening to Native people in Alaska is not a new story; it is a new chapter in an old story."