Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alaska Tribal Sovereignty

Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty. Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.

Regarding tribal sovereignty issues Palin has sought to block tribes from exercising any authority even over the welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exists (except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).

Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin's policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04-12194 CI (judgment entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Native Kaltag Tribal Council v. DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211- TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08-35343 (9th Cir.)).

Palin's policy of refusing to recognize Alaska tribal sovereignty remains unchanged.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Federal Sovereignty - Virginia Indian Tribes

Read article on Federal Sovereignty for Virginia Indians I published in NALA magazine.

Reprinted with permission of NALA, The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals. The article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Facts & Findings, NALA’s quarterly magazine for paralegals. The article is reprinted here in its entirety. For further information, contact NALA at or phone (918) 587-6828.