Tribes in Alaska can now take lands into trust

Now that the stay against Alaska tribal petitions has been lifted, the BIA will publish notice of those trust land applications within 30 days. (iStock)
Now that the stay against Alaska tribal petitions has been lifted, the BIA will publish notice of those trust land applications within 30 days. (iStock)
Tribes in Alaska can move forward with petitioning the federal government to take lands into trust. A federal appeals court today dismissed the state of Alaska’s challenge in the trust litigation.

Indian Country status in Alaska would afford the same protections as reservation lands in the lower 48.

In 2007, Alaska tribes sued the Interior Department for the right to take land into trust. Even after a legal opinion from the Interior Department said it was discriminatory to treat tribes in Alaska differently from tribes in the lower 48, the state continued its challenge in the case.

Attorney Heather Kendall Miller brought the case for the tribes. She said the decision is a big deal.

Land applications

Kendall Miller said now that the stay against Alaska tribal petitions has been lifted, the BIA will publish notice of those trust land applications within 30 days.

State Law Department Spokesperson Cori Mills sent this email response to a request for comment:
“We will review the decision as we do all appellate decisions and determine next steps after a thorough evaluation.”
Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic missing from Paris climate agreement, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Indigenous rights under fire says Finnish Saami leader, Yle News

Greenland: What the EU seal ban has meant for Inuit communities in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Stop romanticizing Arctic development say indigenous leaders, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden:  Sami demand rights as indigenous people, Radio Sweden

Russia:  Russia brands Arctic indigenous organization as “foreign agent,” Barents Observer

United States:  Arctic conference spotlights indigenous issues, Alaska Dispatch News

Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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