ANCSA corporations are not tribal governments

I write to supplement my Tribe’s earlier comments and to oppose the award of any portion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund to private for-profit corporations organized under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

The Fund was set up under Section 5001 of Title V of the CARES Act to provide desperately-needed assistance to governments – States, local governments and tribal governments. The term “tribal government” is used 15 times in Section 5001. The whole point of the fund is to cover public services provided by governments, not to make payments to private companies.

A for-profit corporation, including an Alaska Native for-profit corporation formed under ANCSA, is a private company, controlled by its shareholders and a board of directors. It is not a “tribal government” – it is not (in the words of Section 601(g)(5)) the “recognized governing body of an Indian tribe.”

The term “Indian tribe” may sometimes, in some contexts, mean an Alaska Native corporation, but not when that term is narrowed by Congress just to cover entities with a “recognized governing body,” and not in an Act of Congress designed to provide funding to public entities providing governmental services.

Only true Tribes are “recognized” by the United States, and all such federally recognized tribes are listed annually by the Interior Department in the Federal Register, as Congress mandated in the Federally Recognized Tribal List Act (FRITLA).

For-profit Alaska Native corporations formed under ANCSA are not on those lists. The federal government has no recognized trust responsibility to these for-profit corporations and (in the words of the definition of the term “Indian tribe”) they are not “recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.” Only Tribes listed under FRITLA enjoy that status.

We have no doubt that some ANCSA corporations are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. While that is true of many businesses, Congress may have a special duty to assist ANCSA corporations at some point. But that discussion is for another day.

Title V of the CARES Act was intended by Congress strictly to assist government – true governments, “tribal governments” – and our Tribes therefore respectfully urges you to reject calls by ANCSA corporations to participate in the Fund.

Michael Williams Sr., Chief

Akiak Native Community

Keep your faith

Hello out there,

Good morning, afternoon, evening all of you. I hope you all are faring alright with what is going on. As I tell people, “You can only be grateful for knowing/having that time with the people who have passed away. If you truly have faith in God, then you rest assured that you will see them again.” Or, God said, “There will be no tears, nor sorrow, or pain over there.” He is gracious and merciful to those who trust Him.

Only when I get so frustrated do I try alcohol. Then I sit there and cry, because I begin to gag, and it makes me wonder why people do this to themselves. Every person has trying times, but, things always get better. Sometimes, you are the person who has to change it. If you believe in God – He is gracious and merciful, and will provide for you always.

You are all precious to very many people – even if you don’t believe you are – you are. You can become whatever you dream yourself to become. You just have to do the extra schooling it takes to get there. You are the only one can do it for yourself. Sure, there are people like me who don’t know what we want to become, so a lot of us may have done many different jobs, getting to being good at a few different things.

Or, take a few courses over the years to see what might appeal to them. After a while the credits add up. Although you may feel like no one is on your side – there really is.

Just like: people have to talk to someone every once in a while. It is a part of life. It is also okay to break down. If you keep it in you become bitter about it. Let it go – there is nothing you can do about it. Although, you do not every have to take any kind of abuse. Not ever. You deserve better.

As for Our Children’s Education – I sure am glad BSSD is giving out paper packets because there are a lot of families out there who cannot even afford the outrageous prices GCI charges us for such a thing as the internet. Besides the crappy reception you get and people’s hoppers, you can be straight out of luck there.

With people using illegal hoppers – how can kids even have access to what they need? We out here value Our Children’s Education. It is not right for the Governor to say the children have to repeat that grade if they have done their homework.

To us that value Our Children’s Education, it comes first every day after breakfast, ensuring they pass that grade. So why not let those children go on to the next grade? They deserve to – if they keep up with their studies. They will get bored if they have to go over the same thing.

I think if the virus is not in a Community, since there are no people flying around, the students should be able to go back to school. That people should be able to socialize with each other.

Since 1962 there have been different strands of the virus. As long as people take care of themselves, and don’t panic, they survive. Every one of us will die sometime – it’s a given fact. We know not when that is – only God does. If we have survived that many, what makes this one any different? Makes me wonder what Trump is really up to.

May God bless your Spring, Summer, and guide you in the rest of your life. God bless you all. Keep your faith. As always…

Karen Nanouk

Unalakleet, AK

You are Not Alone; Help is Available

On March 11, Governor Dunleavy declared a public health emergency to protect Alaskans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country. The following week, a health mandate was issued requiring all Alaskans, except critical and essential workers, to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing. This mandate, as well as the other health mandates, are vitally important and necessary to keep Alaskans safe from the virus.

Unfortunately, staying at home, sheltering in place and social distancing have unintended consequences in homes where violence, control and abusive behaviors are happening. Homes where abuse and violence occur are not safe havens; rather they create smothering isolation, fear and increased violence, abuse and control. Domestic and family violence happens daily in Alaska. While social distancing does not create violence, CDVSA knows that isolation increases both the intensity and frequency of abusive behaviors.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency declaration the crisis shelters and service providers remain open. We want all victims and survivors to know, you are not alone; help is available. While we know it is more difficult to reach out for help during this challenging time, and to find safe ways to seek help, services are open and available. All 35 funded programs are working hard to find creative, safe and alternative ways to provide support while following the necessary health mandates.

Our message is clear; if you can safely reach out for help, please do so. Seventeen (17) of our funded programs continue to provide 24/7 emergency safety and shelter services. While programs face challenges to provide shelter and safety, while also practicing social distancing in congregate living, they are open and committed to help victims become survivors.

To compensate for reduced shelter space, all emergency and advocacy programs are working with community partners to secure other safe shelter options, to include hotels, B&Bs, and identified safe homes. Their commitment is that everyone who needs safe shelter can find safe shelter. For the health and safety of staff and participants, programs are practicing safe social distancing, in accordance with Alaska’s health mandates, adapting services to use telephone, text, email and secure video opportunities when available.

Domestic and family violence programs throughout Alaska are showing their grit, determination and compassion for those in need of these critical, often life-saving services. The dedication of all our programs’ employees is humbling; I recognize and commend each and every one of them.

To anyone who faces violence in the home or sexual assault, remember, you are not alone. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic, sexual or any form of interpersonal violence or child abuse please reach out; safety, support and help is available.

Available resources include:

For immediate response call 911; Alaska 2-1-1 for assistance, referrals, resources; National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 800-799-7233; Text LOVEIS to 22522; Online chat at; Alaska’s CARELINE at 877-266-4357; National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673); To report child abuse at 800-478-4444 or online at [email protected]; For a listing of local victim services 24/7 hotlines go to:

It is important during these challenging times that we look out for one another; take time to call, text and check-in with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to make sure they are doing okay while staying home. We are all Alaskans and we are in this together—please know: You are not alone, help is available.

L. Diane Casto, MPA

Executive Director

Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Example: 9075434113