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Historic: Craig Tribal Association Receives Approval for 1st Federal Land Trust in Alaska


January 16, 2017
Monday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced Friday that it has approved Craig Tribal Association’s (CTA) land-into-trust application to place a 1.08-acre land parcel into federal Indian trust status.

This is the first application from Alaska to be approved by DOI since it issued a final revised rule in 2014 expelling the misguided “Alaska exception” that had unfairly excluded Alaska tribes from the fee to trust process. Under federal Indian trust status, Craig Tribal Association’s land parcel, cannot be sold, alienated, or transferred without federal approval. Craig Tribal Association’s parcel is home to its tribal government offices, a town hall, and commercially leased office space.

jpg Historic: Craig Tribal Association Receives Approval for 1st Federal Land Trust in Alaska

Prince of Wales Island (Alaska)
The Craig Tribal Association is located in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales Island. The Tongass National Forest covers most of the island. Prince of Wales Island is the fourth-largest island in the United States (after Hawaii, Kodiak Island in Alaska, and Puerto Rico) and the 97th-largest island in the world.
Map graphic courtesy GoogleMaps

Craig Tribal Association’s President Clinton Cook said Friday morning was a historic day for the Craig Tribal Association and all Alaska tribes. Cook said, "The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Lawrence Roberts, approved our Tribe’s application to take approximately 1.08 acres of land into trust for our Tribe. This land, which is located within our traditional homelands, is the center of our government."

Cook said, " Alaska tribes have been unfairly left out of the fee to trust process for decades. This decision not only reflects a firm commitment by the United States to move forward in treating Alaska tribes like those in the lower 48 by providing us the same opportunities to exercise tribal self-determination; but recognizes the importance of rebuilding and restoring tribal homelands."

Friday's decision ensures that our tribe will have a permanent center for Craig Tribal Association's government and will provide economic development opportunities for their children and grandchildren said Cook.

"Our tribe sincerely appreciates the comments that were submitted by both the State of Alaska and the City of Craig, neither of which opposed the tribe’s application, and looks forward to continuing to work together and build strong partnerships. We commend Assistant Secretary Roberts for all of the hard work that led to his decision to approve our application. We also thank Secretary Jewell for her unwavering commitment to Indian country and supporting the restoration of tribal homelands," said Cook.

According to a news release from Central Council, the ability for Alaska tribes to petition for trust land acquisitions will maximize tribal government resources, eligibility for federal programs and services, and will foster economic development. It will help address public safety and child welfare issues, protect historic homelands and cultural sites, and expand funding for services, education, and housing – above all else it is about Alaska tribes exercising their inherent sovereignty and self-determination.

Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa to Secretary Sally Jewell for her commitment to restoring tribal homelands and congratulations to Craig Tribal Association for their foresight and leadership,” said Central Council President Richard Peterson. “With the Alaska exception removed, we finally have new Indian Country in Alaska – this is great progress for all Alaska tribes. I look forward to working with President Clinton Cook and the Craig Tribal Council as we continue to advance tribal interest.”

Central Council Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska has submitted fee-to-trust and reservation proclamation applications for property Central Council holds in fee or federally restricted status. All parcels are located within the historical and cultural area long known as the “Juneau Indian Village”. Central Council’s parcels are home to the Andrew Hope Building and its surrounding parking lots.

Under the Obama Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has processed more than 2,265 individual trust applications and restored more than 570,799 acres of land into trust status since 2009.

The Craig Tribal Association is located in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales Island.



Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Central Council Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska

Craig Tribal Association



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