Supreme Court Rules That Alaska Native Corporations Are Tribes

 AHTNA And Other Alaska Native Corporations Now Considered "Tribes" By U.S. Supreme Court  “The Court today affirms what the Feder...

 AHTNA And Other Alaska Native Corporations Now Considered "Tribes" By U.S. Supreme Court 


“The Court today affirms what the Federal Government has maintained for almost half a century: ANCs are Indian tribes,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, representing the majority. 

The Navajo Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation of Washington State and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe all believe that Alaska's Native corporations are not actual "tribes." When federal funds came up in April 2020, those three Lower 48 Native tribes sued in federal court to keep Alaska's Native corporations from receiving COVID funds meant for tribes. 

The dispute arose over the CARES Act of $1.9 trillion, which put aside $8 billion to be distributed to tribal governments. There are 12 Native Alaska corporations (including AHTNA) that were created by the federal government in 1971 to address land claims, and the question was whether they qualified for tribal funding. 

Tha Navajo Nation said no. It argued in April, 2020, that Alaska's Native corporations are "for-profit entities that have billions of dollars in revenue, and can access other funding sources in the CARES Act. The Congressional intent of these funds were to relieve tribal governments." 

On June 25th, 2021, though, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Alaska Native Corporations, saying they are tribes, too.

The Court ruled in favor of Alaskan corporations, 6 to 3, with justices Elena Kagen, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissenting. 

According to the Alaska Federation Of Natives' website, the Copper River tribes to this point were:

Native Village of Cantwell, Cheesh-Na Tribe in Chistochina, Native Village of Chitina, Native Village of Kluti Kaah in Copper Center, Native Village of Gakona, Gulkana Village Council, Mentasta Traditonal Council, and Native Village of Tazlina. 


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