Judge: Alaska Native Corporations Eligible For Coronavirus Relief Funds

By Laurel Morales
Published: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 1:44pm
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A federal judge has ruled that Alaska Native corporations are eligible for a share of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds set aside for tribes. 

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta wrote, "Congress, in its effort to distribute emergency funds quickly to Indians under the CARES Act, intended to get those dollars in the hands of the same entities that deliver public services to Indians.” 

Alaska Native corporations are unique to Alaska and own most of the Native land in the state under a settlement over oil-rich tribal territory. 

The corporations say they support Alaska Natives economically, socially and culturally. 

But the National Congress of American Indians says the corporations have no governmental duties to tribal citizens. 

The Navajo Council says the litigation held up the $714 million it received from the relief package weeks beyond the imposed deadline. So it has asked Congress for an extension to spend the funds.

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