The Maniilaq Association, a non-profit health services corporation, tonight moved one step closer to receiving ownership of three parcels of federal land in Kotzebue thanks to a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Begich and introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Maniilaq provides health, tribal and social services to the residents of Northwest Alaska, and the transfer will give the association title to property previously owned by the Indian Health Service. Maniilaq already has several facilities on the three parcels, including the Maniilaq Health Center, a long-term care facility and employee housing.
"I'm extremely pleased to see Maniilaq one step closer to exercising its rights of ownership as it continues to serve the people of the Northwest Arctic," Begich said. "Passage of this bill was a great example of what can happen when the Alaska delegation works together."
The bill was introduced by Murkowski in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, of which she is a member, and a companion resolution sponsored by Rep. Don Young passed the House of Representatives earlier this year. Maniilaq Association Deputy Administrator Paul Hansen testified in support of the transfer to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in March. In his testimony Hansen said the bill "gives the Maniilaq Association more security in its title and more flexibility in use of the property in carrying out health and social service programs for its member villages."
Begich will join the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in January, when the 113th Congress convenes.