Published on Jan 13, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs announced the Department of the Interior’s decision to place a 1.08-acre land parcel owned by the Craig Tribal Association into federal Indian trust status.
“The finalization of the tribal land-into-trust application is very good news for Alaska tribes,” said Brian Cladoosby, NCAI President. “Land into trust will enable Alaska tribal governments to protect lands for future generations and to better exercise governmental authority for the protection of their citizens.”
Public safety is a significant concern in Alaska Native villages. The State focuses its resources in the urban areas, and in the villages the problems of violence and drugs are often not addressed. Two recent blue ribbon panels, the Congressionally-created Indian Law and Order Commission and the Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform, have both recommended that the prohibition on land-into-trust in Alaska be removed. This land currently houses the Tribe’s offices, town hall, and a commercial space used by the Alaska Court System. This will have an immediate positive impact on their Tribal citizens and the community of Prince Wales Island as a whole by allowing the Tribe to provide additional benefits and services. NCAI strongly supports the progress on this critically important issue for Alaska tribes.
“When tribal governments set their own policies and enforce the laws in their own communities, then they can take care of law enforcement, improve their economy, and help to build productive communities,” said President Cladoosby.
The federal trust relationship to tribes is a sacred and valuable relationship that must be preserved and protected. Millions of acres of Native American lands have been lost when and where federal-tribal trust relations were compromised.
Tribal land into trust is not new in Alaska. The Metlakatla (Annette Island), Klawock, and Kake tribes have land in trust and have had for decades. The State of Alaska benefits from strong tribal governments who support local services and drive economic development.
About The National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit www.ncai.org.Subscribe to our News RSS