On the Separation of IRA Tribal Government and Alaska Native Corporation

Title 43 United States Code, Section 1626(a) Continuing availability of otherwise available governmental programs

The payments and grants authorized under this chapter constitute compensation for the extinguishment of claims to the land, and shall not be deemed to substitute for any governmental programs otherwise available to the Native people of Alaska as citizens of the United States and the State of Alaska.

Title 43 United States Code, Section 1626(d) Federal Indian programs

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Alaska Natives shall remain eligible for all Federal Indian programs on the same basis as other Native Americans.

Commentary:

Notice the absence of any explicit term referring to IRA tribal government in Alaska, or any term referring to the sovereignty of IRA tribal governments in Alaska (section a only refers to Alaska Natives as citizens of Alaska or the U.S.).  The broad language perhaps allows for the non-profit arms of the corporations to contract and compact with the federal agencies under the guise of IRA tribal governments.  The non-profit arms of the corporations have since been expedited into “tribal consortiums”.  The legal definition of tribal consortium follows below:

Title 25 United States Code, Section 458aaa (5) Inter-tribal consortium

The term “inter-tribal consortium” means a coalition of two or more separate Indian tribes that join together for the purpose of participating in self-governance, including tribal organizations.

The confusion becomes worse since several non-profit tribal consortiums participate fully in the Alaska Federation of Natives, the organization made of and concerning mainly the Alaska Native Corporations.

It is difficult to firmly delineate IRA tribal governments and Alaska Native Corporations, especially considering tribal consortiums serving as non-profit human services organizations began pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which gave birth to Alaska Native Corporations.  Does this focus onto ANCSA by way of legal language take away human capital from IRA tribal governments in Alaska?

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