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 today’s decision is a big deal.
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.