TITLE: Calling for the Alaska State Municipal Land Trust to Work with the Affected Alaskan Tribal Councils and Corporations to Ensure a Smooth and Effective Return of the 14(c)(3) Lands to the Local Native Community
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, Section 14(c)(3) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) required every Native Village Corporation formed under the Act to turn a portion of the lands it received in the Village under the Act over to the State of Alaska to be held in trust for the eventual creation of a municipal government in the area; and
WHEREAS, many Native Villages have already turned land over to be held in Trust and Managed by the State of Alaska; and
WHEREAS, in the case of many rural, Native Villages, the land is now being managed in apparent perpetuity by the Alaska State Municipal Land Trust (MLT), an office that is underfunded and overtasked; and
WHEREAS, it has been decades since the passage of ANCSA, and many years after these Native Villages turned over land, with no municipalities formed or planned, and no end in sight; and
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska does not have the resources to adequately manage these lands indefinitely, nor did the drafters of ANCSA intend that result; and
WHEREAS, the State laws and regulations governing the MLT give the Trust the authority to convey or dispose of 14(c)(3) lands it is managing in Villages, when the Tribal authority (referred to in the regulations as the Appropriate Village Entity) concurs with the action; and
WHEREAS, the local community, acting through its Tribal Council and its Native Village Corporation, is best situated to make appropriate decisions on Village land management in the best interests of the community.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), with the support of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and the Native American Contractors Association, and other Native American organizations, that, in cases where there has been demonstrated support by the Village Tribal and Corporate leadership, the MLT should use its authority under AS 44.33.733(b) and 3 AAS 190.410 – 190.490 to work with affected Tribal Councils and Corporations to ensure a smooth and effective return of the 14(c)(3) lands to the local Native community to manage in what they determine to be their own community’s best interests; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.