Senator Begich released the following statement on the recent federal court ruling, Akiachak Native Community, et al. v. Salazar, against a Department of Interior (DOI) regulation that affects Alaska tribes. The court found the DOI regulation that excludes most Alaska tribes from the land-into-trust application process to be discrimination among Indian tribes.
"I was pleased to hear of the positive ruling in favor of Alaska tribes. I have long believed that Alaska tribes are no different from tribes in the Lower 48 and should be able to take part in the land-into-trust application process. This ruling affirms that the Secretary of the Interior does not have the authority to discriminate against Alaska tribes. While tribes in Alaska do not own large portions of land, the ability for tribes to protect and preserve their land for future generations is an important step on the road to self-determination."