In a case that pitted Lower 48 Native American tribes against Alaska Native corporations, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the corporations, saying they will be able to receive Covid-19 relief funds.
By a vote of 6 to 3 on Friday, the high court confirmed that the Native corporations, are the same as Indian tribes as defined by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. As such, they are entitled to funds from the CARES Act.
“The court today affirms what the federal government has maintained for almost half a century: ANCs are Indian tribes under ISDA,” Sotomayor wrote in the 28-page ruling in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of Chehalis Reservation. “For that reason, they are Indian tribes under the CARES Act and eligible for Title V funding.”
As a result, the corporations are entitled to receive up to $500 million that had been allotted to them under the CARES Act, passed by Congress in March 2020.
“This decision means Alaska Native corporations will be treated fairly when it comes to accessing federal CARES Act funding,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “We applaud the court’s balanced and even-handed ruling regarding economic relief funding to these entities.”