Tribal and U.S. Response Briefs in Alaska Land into Trust Case

Response briefs filed in State of Alaska v. Akiachak Native Community;

Tribal Appellees Response Brief

USA Response Brief

Previous coverage here.

Alaska Governor Walker Spurns Alaska Natives and Pursues Challenge to Interior’s Decision to Take Land Into Trust for Alaska Natives

Here is the state’s opening brief in State of Alaska v. Akiachak Native Community:

2015-08-24 AK appeal brief vs Akiachak

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Issues Stay Pending Appeal in Alaska Fee to Trust Case

Here are the updated materials in Akiachak Native Community v. Jewell (D.D.C.):

139 Alaska Motion for Stay

140 Akiachak Opposition

143 Alaska Reply

145 DCT Order

An excerpt:

For the foregoing reasons, the Court will GRANT IN PART Alaska’s motion for an injunction by enjoining the Secretary from taking any land into trust in Alaska, pending the outcome of the appeal. The Court’s ruling does not apply to the pre-existing exception for the Metlakatla Indian Community of the Annette Island Reserve or its members. 25 C.F.R. § 151.1; see also 79 Fed.Reg. 24,648, 24,649.

Materials on the merits here. Materials on the motion for reconsideration here.

New Proposed Rule for Fee to Trust in Alaska

Proposed Rule here.

SUMMARY: This proposed rule would delete a provision in the Department of the Interior’s land-into-trust regulations that excludes from the scope of the regulations, with one exception, land acquisitions in trust in the State of Alaska.

Related case here.

Press release requesting comments here.

Federal Court Denies Alaska and US Motions for Reconsideration in Akiachak Native Community v. Jewell

Here are the materials:

112-1 Alaska Motion for Reconsideration

113 Akiachak Opposition

116 Akiachak Supplemental Memorandum

118 Interior Supplemental Memorandum

119 Alaska Supplemental Memorandum

120 Interior Motion for Reconsideration + Exhibits

121 Interior Response to Alaska Motion

124 Akiachak Reply

126 Alaska Reply

127 Akiachak Response to Interior Motion

129 Interior Reply

130 Akiachak 09-30-2013 denying motion for reconsideration

The previous posts in this case are here and here.

Federal Court Holds Interior Secretary Retains Authority to Make Trust Land Acquisitions for Alaska Natives

Here are the materials in Akiachak Native Community v. Salazar (D. D.C.):

DCT Order Granting Summary J to Plaintiffs

Akiachak et al Motion for Summary J

DOI Motion for Summary J

DOI Supplemental Brief

Akiachak Supplemental Reply Brief

An excerpt:

Four tribes of Alaska Natives and one individual Native brought this suit to challenge the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to leave in place a regulation that treats Alaska Natives differently from other native peoples. The challenged regulation governs the taking of land into trust under Section 5of the Indian Reorganization Act, 25 U.S.C. § 465; it provides that, with one exception, the regulatory procedures “do not cover the acquisition of land in trust status in the State of Alaska.” 25 C.F.R. § 151.1. The plaintiffs argue that this exclusion of Alaska Natives-and only Alaska Natives-from the land-into-trust application process is void under 25 U.S.C. § 476(g), which nullifies regulations that discriminate among Indian tribes. The State of Alaska has intervened to argue that the differential treatment is required by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (“ANCSA” or the “Claims Settlement Act”), which (on the State’s account) deprived the Secretary of the statutory authority to take most Alaska land into trust.

The Secretary disagrees, but nonetheless seeks to justify the regulation by reference to ANCSA. For the reasons explained below, the court concludes [2] that the Secretary retains his statutory authority to take land into trust on behalf of all Alaska Natives, and that his decision to maintain the exclusion of most Natives from the land-into-trust regulation violates 25 U.S.C. § 476(g), which provides that contrary regulations “shall have no force or effect.” The court therefore grants summary judgment to the plaintiffs, and orders additional briefing on the question of the proper remedy.