National | Trust

NCAI praises inclusion of Alaska tribes in land-into-trust process

A view of the Akiachak Native Community, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that prompted the Obama administration to include Alaska tribes in the land-into-trust process. Photo from Calista Corporation

The National Congress of American Indians is praising the Obama administration for proposing a rule to include Alaska tribes in the land-into-trust process.

Alaska tribes have long been excluded from the process. That will be changing if the Bureau of Indian Affairs finalizes a rule that was published in the Federal Register on Thursday.

“The trust relationship between the federal government and tribal governments is the foundation of all policies affecting Indian Country," NCAI President Brian Cladoosby said in a press release. That Alaska Native peoples have been cut out of this critical arrangement is unacceptable and has created myriad problems for those tribes.

The BIA is accepting public comments until June 30. Opposition is expected from the state of Alaska, whose leaders contend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 prevents Alaska tribes from acquiring trust lands.

Judge Rudolph Contreras of the federal district court in Washington, D.C., disagreed with that argument as part of a lawsuit filed by Alaska Natives. The state is appealing the decision.

Federal Register Notice:
Land Acquisitions in the State of Alaska (May 1, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Dear Tribal Leader Letter from Kevin Washburn (April 30, 2014)

District Court Decisions:
Akiachak Native Community v. Jewell (September 30, 2013)
Akiachak Native Community v. Salazar (March 31, 2013)

Related Stories:
BIA accepts public comments on land-into-trust rule for Alaska (5/1)
BIA proposes rule to include Alaska in land-into-trust process (4/30)
Judge deletes Alaska exception in land-into-trust regulations (10/02)
Sen. Begich supports land-into-trust decision for Alaska tribes (4/23)
APRN: NARF attorney discusses decision in land-into-trust case (04/09)
Decision in Alaska case could reopen land-into-trust regulation (4/5)
NARF calls land-into-trust case 'victory' for all Alaska tribes (4/3)
Judge rules tribes in Alaska can follow land-into-trust process (4/1)
Rep. Young won't support Alaska tribes for land-into-trust fix (03/20)

Join the Conversation