Story last updated at 1/18/2017 - 12:30 pm
CRAIG—The Department of Interior (DOI) announced Jan. 13 that it 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 “Alaska exception” that had excluded Alaska tribes from the fee to trust process. Under federal Indian trust status, CTA’s land parcel, cannot be sold, alienated, or transferred without federal approval. CTA’s parcel is home to its tribal government offices, a town hall, and commercially leased office space.
In a press release from CCTHITA (Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska) CTA president Clinton Cook called the day “historic.”
“This land, which is located within our traditional homelands, is the center of our government. 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. Today’s decision ensures that our tribe will have a permanent center for our tribal government and provides economic development opportunities for our children and grandchildren,” he said, thanking the state of Alaska, City of Craig, and DOI Secretary Sally Jewell.
CCTHITA President Richard Peterson said “With the Alaska exception removed, we finally have new Indian Country in Alaska – this is great progress for all Alaska tribes.”