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AK congressional delegation files brief supporting Alaska Native Corps. receiving CARES act funds

(wcax)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 1:35 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and U.S. Congressman Don Young, filed an amicus curiae brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the petition for a writ of certiorari in support of Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) eligibility for tribal assistance appropriated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The brief states that the indigenous peoples of Alaska will suffer severe negative consequences as a result of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ September 25, 2020 decision, which held that ANCs are ineligible for CARES Act tribal coronavirus relief funding. The Alaska Congressional Delegation argued the decision should be reversed, citing decades old precedent and federal Indian law which supports ANCs eligibility for this funding. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s September ruling overturned an earlier June 26 ruling by a U.S. District Court that concluded ANCs are eligible for the aid.

“We worked hard to secure funding within the CARES Act to provide emergency-relief funds to ‘Indian tribes’ as defined by the Indian Self-Determination Education and Assistance Act—which includes Alaska regional or village corporations—to help provide the maximum benefit to all indigenous people to help overcome the impacts of COVID-19. The ruling by the D.C. Circuit deeming ANCs as ineligible for this critical funding is unacceptable as it goes against the language of ANCSA, ISDEAA, and the CARES Act, erasing more than 45 years of precedent, with the potential to undo the tribal systems of healthcare, education, housing, and more,” said the delegation. “The pandemic is hitting Alaska Native villages hard with COVID cases continuing to rise. We stand with the ANCs who are fighting for the health and safety of all Alaska Natives.”

Click here for the full amicus brief.

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