1996 Alaska Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (1996)

handle is hein.sag/sagak0001 and id is 1 raw text is: January 11, 1996

The Honorable Gail Phillips, Speaker
Alaska House of Representatives
State Capitol
MS 3100
Juneau, AK 99801
Re:   Tribal Status Issues
A.G. file no: 663-96-0521
1996 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 1
Dear Speaker Phillips:
At the conclusion of the Joint House-Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on tribal
status held on December 4, 1995, 1 pledged to provide additional information about this important
issue. This information is also being provided to legislators who did not participate in the committee
hearing as a follow-up to my letter of November 27, 1995, on tribal status issues.
Let me emphasize once again that the decision by the Knowles Administration to
withdraw the challenge to federal recognition of tribes in Alaska was not driven by litigation
considerations. Instead, it was motivated by a commitment to working with Alaska villages to achieve
a healthier, safer environment in which the community is an active participant in solutions. Litigation
over the issue of tribal status was viewed as a major impediment to this state-local partnership.
Nevertheless, the Administration's decision to not pursue the litigation over tribal
status is also supported by events that, taken together, lead one to conclude that the probability of
prevailing in the federal courts was extremely low. Very few human endeavors are static. In this

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