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Federal judge halts CARES Act funds 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 issued an injunction that prevents Alaska Native corporations from receiving part of a Tribal funding set-aside in the CARES Act.

The decision came Tuesday, July 7, 2020, as Tribal nations appeal a ruling in late June that said the Native corporations were eligible to receive the funding.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta had ruled against several Tribes in the Lower 48 and Alaska. They sued the Department of Treasury and Interior over the eligibility of Alaska Native corporations to receive a portion of about $8 billion.

The decision hinged on whether Alaska Native corporations could be considered Tribal governments in relation to the funding. Though he wrestled with his decision, Mehta ultimately ruled that they could.

The injunction Tuesday paves the way for Tribes to pursue an appeal in the case. But only gives them until July 14 to do so. After that, the injunction expires July 15.

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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