McCrary v. Ivanof Bay
In McCrary v. Ivanof Bay Village, Appellant McCrary challenged the federal recognition of Ivanof Bay Village and the corollary right of the tribe to claim sovereign immunity from suit in the context of a contractual dispute. Appellant was represented by Don Mitchell, an Alaska attorney who has spent much of his career arguing that Congress has not approved the Department of Interior’s authority to acknowledge preexisting tribal status.
The superior court dismissed McCrary’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and oral argument before the Alaska Supreme Court was held on May 17, 2011. On December 9, 2011, the Alaska Supreme Court agreed with NARF attorney Heather Kendall-Miller’s legal arguments and upheld Alaska tribal government sovereignty. Tribal government legal status has now been clearly upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court in two successive decisions and McCrary has no other recourse in the state court system.
For a copy of the opinion, click here.
For a radio story discussing the Alaska Supreme Court’s opinion, click here.