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Three Alaska Tribes have joined federal lawsuit against the Treasury over $8B in Tribal funding

Akiak Native Community joined five other Tribal governments and filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over funding in the CARES Act.

The federal lawsuit seeks to prevent Alaska Native corporations from taking part in the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund – specifically allocated for Tribes.

The lawsuit names Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin as the defendant. The Treasury is the agency responsible for allocating funds after consultation with Tribes and the Department of Interior.

The Tribal funding has been a sticking point with Tribes and Native organizations in the Lower 48, who say Alaska Native corporations should be excluded from eligibility because they are for-profit corporations – not governments. 

That contention has also spilled into a fight between Tribes, Native organizations and the Department of Interior.

Tara Sweeney is Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs – and a former executive for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native corporation.

Tribes say that Sweeney is intentionally diverting money to Native corporations -- AND away from Lower 48 and Alaska Native Tribes. 

The deadline to apply for the funding is 7:59 p.m. Alaska time today (11:59 p.m. Eastern Friday, April 17, 2020).

Asa’cararmiut Tribe and Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, both of Alaska, also are included as the plaintiffs in  Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Mnuchin.

Originally from the Midwest, Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe, a descendent of Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, pronouns: they/them) has 15-plus years in print, web and radio journalism. Tripp first moved to Alaska in 2016 to work with KTOO Public Media in Juneau. And later moved to Anchorage in 2018 to work with KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. Tripp currently works for Spruce Root in Juneau, Alaska. Tripp also served as chair of the Station Advisory Committee for Native Public Media.
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