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Suit dismissed that challenged Tanana Chiefs Conference sovereign immunity

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By TCC Today

The State Superior Court has dismissed a suit challenging the Tanana Chiefs Conference tribal sovereign immunity, a status which protects it from being sued.

A November 21st order issued by judge Patricia Haines threw out a case filed by Dot Lake Village, which alleged TCC bylaw violations like illegal board meetings and votes, and sought court intervention to prevent from happening again.

Dot Lake argued that the sovereign immunity of TCC tribes does not extend to the Interior Alaska Native service organization, but the court found that TCC is an arm of its member tribes, and therefore cannot be sued by them, adding that the court QUOTE: “lacks jurisdiction to insert itself into a dispute that ultimately boils down to a self-governance disagreement within an intertribal consortium.” UNQUOTE

In an emailed response to a request for comment, Dot Lake Village president Tracey Charles Smith said QUOTE: “ TCC is not a tribe, but is asserting tribal rights without getting the consent of its member tribes. In so doing, TCC is claiming that it may violate its governing rules without consequence”. UNQUOTE.

TCC did not respond to an interview request yesterday (Tues), but in an organization press release announcing the case dismissal, TCC Chief and Chairman Brian Ridley says QUOTE: “We are ready to move past these issues, as we have worked hard over the past year to heal our organization and continue forward with strength, unity, and respect.”