Anchorage Assembly sets public hearing on govt-to-govt relations with Eklutna Village - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly sets public hearing on govt-to-govt relations with Eklutna Village

Anchorage Assembly sets public hearing on govt-to-govt relations with Eklutna Village

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Eklutna is a bit of an enigma in Anchorage. There are believed to be under 50 tribal members who live in the Native Village of Eklutna proper, north of Anchorage.

As many as 150 make up the tribe itself; these are people spread around the state. The group is comprised of only a few families, and the village is run by one family, more or less — the dominant clan.

The Assembly of Anchorage is about to pass an ordinance that will formalize government-to-government relations with the Village, whose actual membership number is closely guarded information.

At the heart of the matter is a long-sought-after casino. In October, the Eklutna sued the Department of Interior, challenging the ruling that the tribe does not hold governmental authority over the land in question, and can’t establish gaming operations there.

The ordinance that is advancing would help establish more government authority for the village.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Native tribes can open electronic bingo halls on sovereign land without permission of the state, so long as there are other similar operations legally operating elsewhere in the state. There is one electronic bingo hall in the reservation of Metlakatla.

Eklutna graveyard, a combination of Russian Orthodox tradition and Native American practices, is outside of the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Eklutna.

The land that the Eklutna want to build their gaming hall was granted by the Alaska Native Allotment Act, and the tribe says it has jurisdiction and has provided governmental Services ever since 1906.

For this reason, the word “sovereignty” is inserted in the ordinance and takes on greater importance, as does the government-to-government relationship status.

At a work session last week, the Assembly discussed the ordinance to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Native Village of Eklutna and start including its leader, Aaron Leggett, in negotiations of various sorts. For instance, Leggett told the Assembly, if there was a major development at the Port of Anchorage, the village leaders would need to be consulted.

Listen to the discussion about the ordinance among Assembly members on Jan. 8:

The ordinance is limited to the Native Village of Eklutna, but the sponsor, Assemblyman Chris Constant, says this is just a start to having the municipality create government-to-government relationships with villages and/or tribes all over the state.

And he also wants an office of rural affairs established in the municipality.

The Assembly majority has made it a priority to “decolonize” Anchorage, and this ordinance is a step toward that goal.

View the Anchorage Assembly Jan. 12 agenda at this link.

According to the village’s website, the Eklutna Native Village government office was organized in 1961 by the traditional people of Eklutna Village in order to be recognized for protecting land rights. By then, the 326,000 acre Eklutna Reservation had been reduced over the years to a mere 1,819 acres. The tribe became federally recognized and is recorded under IRS code 83.87, section 7871, the Indian Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act of 1982.

The ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting is at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is such bull. There is ZERO factual need to enact a policy by which the municipality of Anchorage should in any way be required to allow the Eklutna village to have any say on the development at the Port or anywhere else in the municipality of Anchorage, beyond the confines of their village.

  • Chris Constant should set the example for the decolonization by moving back to the Lower 48 where he belongs

    • Yes Yes Yes !!!!!!!!

      • The new colonization is Progressivism. And it is not from Alaska. Too late they won’t realize that until they are totally dependent.

  • Another example of “liberal gone wild”

  • Best of my knowledge, there’s only two tribes in Alaska with Reservation status. Eklutna isn’t one of them.

  • Follow the money. Always follow the money. Cheers –

  • Great! So if Eklutna must be consulted for Muni projects, presumably the village will be assisting financially?

    As for California Colonizer Christopher Constant, A pox on the phony kings of Anchorage!

  • The trouble with disturbed nuts like constant is that all they read is leftist gibberish. If they read or studied any WWII information they would have a totally different view – well, then maybe not as their perspective is strictly Marxist.
    It was in the cards in actuality for western countries to “colonize” America. IF not the Germans, especially the Japanese, but for 2 examples would have totally run over North America Native Tribes and exterminated them, just as they tried to do in other parts of the world.
    All of the minorities in America fought in WWII and it is a very good thing that they did.
    Can the liberal gibberish…please!!!!!!! All the left lives for is division.

  • What is the main qualification to get on the ANC assembly? Being stupid?

    • Goes for their voters too.

  • It’s just a shallow attempt to get in on the possible action. So much money to be made. So little time.

  • Article I, section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, says a state is prohibited to “enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power” Sovereignty means that the Eklutnas are a foreign power. The municipality is an instrumentality of the state, for these purposes. Is there some federal law, passed by Congress, which allows the Municipality to enter into agreements and compacts with foreign powers? They had best explicitly state their authority in the legislation, unless they want to get bogged down in lawsuits.

  • Oh, and just adding to my last – even if there is authority for the state to do so, is there some state legislation to allow municipal direct negotiations with sovereigns?

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