The Alaska Nanuuq Commission was formed in 1994 by Charlie Johnson who was adamant that Alaska's Native people be able to have an active and meaningful role in the conservation and management of Alaska's two polar bear populations. As a result, the ANC is recognized in federal legislation as the co-management authority, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in the management of America's shared polar bear populations.
The Alaska Nanuuq Commission represents 15 coastal villages from Kaktovik to the villages of Gambell and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island. Each village passed a tribal resolution establishing that the ANC represent them in all matters concerning polar bears. The ANC is directed by commissioners appointed by each village. The Alaska Nanuuq Commission is active in most polar bear matters both national and international.