Akiachak Trust Lands Decision


A federal district court in Washington, DC has ruled that the Department of Interior’s  regulation that excludes most Alaska Natives from the land-into trust application process violates 25 U.S.C. 476(g), which prevents discrimination among Indian tribes.  The  court rejected the State of Alaska’s argument that the different treatment accorded  Alaska Natives was required by ANCSA.  This decision makes clear that the Secretary retains his statutory authority under Section 5 of the IRA to take land into trust on behalf of all Alaska Natives.  The court has ordered additional briefing from the parties as to the scope of the remedy in the case.  The tribes that  filed the case  (Akiachak Native Community, Chalkyitsik Village, Chilkoot Indian Association and Tuluksak Native Community and an individual Alice Kavairlook, an enrolled member of the Native Village of Barrow)  were represented by the Native American Rights Fund.

Click here to read the Akiachak_Opinion