Craig tribe gets Alaska’s first federal land trust

KETCHIKAN — About an acre owned by the Craig Tribal Association will be the first Alaska Native land to go into trust with the federal government.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the decision Friday, reported the Ketchikan Daily News.

“It’s a historic day for the Craig Tribal Association and for all tribes in Alaska,” said Clinton Cook Sr., president of the Craig Tribal Association. “It’s a biggie.”

A July court decision ended a long-standing practice barring Alaska Native land from going into trust.

“The elimination of the ‘Alaska exception’ to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ land-into-trust regulations has rectified an error that has for far too long treated Alaska tribes differently in the restoration of tribal homelands,” said Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Weldon Loudermilk, according to an Interior department news release.

Land trusts put tribes in an ownership partnership with the federal government. Some perks include the ability to tap into more federal funding.

Craig Tribal Association President Clinton Cook Sr. said Friday that it was a historic moment for all Alaska tribes.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Lawrence Roberts said in a news release Friday that it was a long journey to get to this decision.

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