Akiachak Native Community, et al. v. Department of Interior, et al.

Attorney: Heather R. Kendall-Miller, Matthew N. Newman

Akiachak Native Community, et al., represented by NARF, brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking judicial review of 25 C.F.R. Part 151 as it pertains to federally-recognized Tribes in Alaska.  This federal regulation governs the procedures used by Indian Tribes and individuals when requesting the Secretary of the Interior to acquire title to land in trust on their behalf. The regulation bars the acquisition of land in trust in Alaska other than for the Metlakatla Indian Community or its members.  After full briefing but nearly three years of no action by the federal court, the case was transferred to Judge Rudolph Contreras.  Judge Contreras issued an Order on April 30, 2012 requesting that the federal government respond to six additional questions in a supplemental brief.  The government filed its supplemental brief on July 11, 2012 and Plaintiff Akiachak Native Community filed its reply brief on August 15, 2012.

On March 31, 2013 (Easter day), an Order was issued by Judge Contreras, granting Plaintiffs complete relief on all of their claims – a major victory for Alaska Tribes.  Briefing on remedies was concluded and a Memorandum Order was entered on September 9, 3013 denying the State of Alaska’s motion for reconsideration, and severing and vacating Part 1 of 25 C.F.R. 151.  Appellants have 90 days in which to appeal.

Read More: Accountability of governments to Native Americans, Preservation of Tribal Existence, Protection of Tribal Natural Resources