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Federal judge temporarily halts Tribal coronavirus funding to Alaska Native corporations

Photo of a gavel at Boney Courthouse in Anchorage taken April 18, 2018. (Photo by Tripp J Crouse)

A federal judge has blocked  Native regional and village corporations in Alaska from receiving part of $8 billion  (dollars) in Tribal allocation in the CARES Act.

The judge issued the Monday, April 27, temporary injunction against Alaska Native corporations in a lawsuit over coronavirus relief funding.

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

The Tribal funding has led to contention from Tribes and Native organizations in the Lower 48. They say for-profit Alaska Native corporations should not be eligible to receive funding. 

Alaska Native Village Corporation Association and the ANCSA Regional Association filed an amicus brief in favor of the Treasury.

That brief states that the understanding of Indian law that applies to Alaska Native people and Alaska Native corporations is being “directly attacked by plaintiffs in this case.”

Three Tribes in Alaska are included as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Akiak Native Community, Asa’cararmiut Tribe and Aleut Community of St. Paul Island filed the lawsuit on behalf of three other Tribes 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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