Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Ahtna Inc (Alaska)
Posted: April 22, 2020

Ahtna Inc., an Alaska Native regional corporation, has submitted a friend of the court brief in the CARES Act lawsuit that’s headed to a showdown in federal court.

Despite not being “governments,” Alaska Native corporations are eligible for shares of the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund, the brief asserts. It cites language in the CARES Act which incorporates a definition of “Indian tribe” that includes for-profit entities in the 49th state.

“There are more than 200 remote, predominantly Native, communities across the state but no roads connect them,” Ahtna writes in the 28-page brief. “The size, remoteness, and diversity bring immense challenges unique to Alaska. Many tribes in Alaska simply do not have the capacity or resources to meet the needs of tribal members on their own. ANCSA corporations fill that role.”

ANCSA is short for the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, the federal law that paved the way for the corporations to be chartered under state law.

Athna is one of 13 Alaska Native regional corporations. It serves shareholders in Southcentral Interior Alaska, an area that covers about 28 million acres — approximately the size of Ohio. The corporation holds title to 1.5 million acres, according to the ANCSA Regional Association.

The brief was filed ahead of a hearing in Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Mnuchin at 9:30am Eastern on April 23.

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