State of Alaska Sues Interior Over Tlingit and Haida Land Trust Transfer


January 19, 2023

Tlingit & Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson (right) is shown on January 10, 2023 at the signing of the deed to put the Tribe's first parcel of land into federal trust status. (Courtesy photo)

One week after the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska signed the official deed to put its first parcel of land into federal trust, the state of Alaska has sued the federal government in an effort to nullify the land transfer. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in an Alaskan federal court, the state challenged a Department of Interior decision to accept the parcel of land in downtown Juneau into trust on behalf of the Tribe and to proclaim the land a reservation. The state claims that the decision by Interior Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland limits the state's sovereign jurisdiction and undermines key terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settle Act, known as ANCSA.  

The complaint alleges that the federal government's decision to take the land into trust "jeopardizes the State's rights to tax and to enforce land use, natural resource management, environmental, and public safety regulations on that trust land."


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