A U.S. House Committee passed an amendment to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act this morning that would force the government to recognize Alexander Creek as an Alaska Native village under ANCSA.
Alexander Creek, northwest of Anchorage in the Mat-Su Borough, is part of Cook Inlet Region Inc. If it passes, Alexander Creek would incorporate itself, and residents would receive smaller CIRI dividends, with the rest of the money going to the village corporation, which could decide how it would be distributed.
The bill would require the U.S. government to settle land claim issues with Alexander Creek leaders by the end of this year. But that depends on passage. Congress is slated to begin a five-week recess this weekend. When it returns in September, they’ll have to work on more pressing legislation to avoid across-the-board spending cuts and a plan to keep funding the government for six months.
All of that within two months of the election.
CIRI officials did not make themselves available for comment but in written testimony they were against the current proposal, citing concerns over land rights issues and other problems they felt would infringe on CIRI’s holdings.