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Eklutna

For more than 60 years, the Eklutna River north of Anchorage had been dammed up, stifling the salmon runs that fed generations of Dena’ina people in the area. 

Before the damming, for hundreds of years, the area surrounding Eklutna Lake was populated by the Dena’ina people. Curtis McQueen says the inhabitants were originally more nomadic. 

“They settled these lands here and never left because of the rich abundance of habitat in this area,” Curtis McQueen said of the originally nomadic Dena’ina. McQueen is the former CEO of Eklutna Inc., the Tribe’s for-profit corporation.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has decided against the Eklutna Tribe in its effort to build an Indian gaming parlor on land owned by Tribal members.

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled Wednesday that the Interior Department was justified in concluding the Tribe does not have governmental authority over a particular land parcel near Eklutna village. If the eight acres in Chugiak are not legally considered “Indian land” Eklutna can’t use Indian gaming rules to build a gambling facility there.

 The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved Thursday, January 14, 2021, an ordinance that formally establishes a government-to-government relationship with the Native Village of Eklutna. 

The president of the Eklutna village Tribal council, Aaron Leggett, called the ordinance “a monumental achievement by both governments.”

The only tribal gaming casino in the state is in Metlakatla, on the Annette Island Indian Reserve. But a federally recognized tribe near Anchorage wants to change that.

In the state’s early history, a federal law -- the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act -- parceled out land to 12 regional corporations, Native Village corporations and thousands of tribal allotments. In exchange Alaska Natives gave up further claims to land and most of the resources on and under the ground. 

Alaska also considers most gambling -- outside of state-licensed gaming -- illegal.

The owners of the Red Dog mine in northwest Alaska will pay a fine rather than pipe treated wastewater past a village, which the company says is not feasible with a projected cost of $216 million.

Two Tanana city officials will spend time behind bars for misuse of suplus property for personal gain.

Jobs growth in Alaska dropped by more than 1% in 2013 compared to to the two previous years, from 1.6% to .4%. State officials say the cause is cuts to federal and local government spending.

A health advisory is in effect for areas from Soldotna to Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna valley as some 200 firefighters work to contain a wildfire near Soldotna. Another 90 firefighters are working to contain the Tyonek wildfire that is headed toward Beluga, the site of the Chugach Electric powerplant at Beluga that supplies electricity to half of Anchorage.

Congressman Don Young, Alaska Republican, has proposed a measure that would set aside federal land in Northwest Alaska for an Arctic deep water port.