Letter: Alaska Natives denied land-into-trust
"The state of Alaska’s hostile actions toward Alaska Indian tribes may be subject to federal violations based on the U.S. Constitution. These issues make it worth revisiting legal arguments over the Venetie Indian Reservation-1940 (Indian country). The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act created 13 regional corporations, which are designed as “business entities” where Congress ignored and violated the Venetie Indian Reservation’s 1940 historic treaty with the United States.

Venetie is not a corporation as ANCSA assumes but an “Indian inhabitant entity” with the same promised benefits as a Lower 48 Indian tribe. In 1934, Congress passed the Wheeler Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act). This act authorized the Secretary of the Interior to acquire lands, in federal trust titles, for the exclusive use of American Indian tribes. The stated purpose of the act was to reestablish distinct tribal communities and governments. Currently Alaska Indian tribes are discriminated against because they are not given the choice to acquire their lands into federal trust titles."

Get the Story:
Peter J. Peter: Federal trust (The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 12/10)