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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
NARF wins case that upholds Alaska tribal government sovereignty
On Friday, December 9, the Alaska Supreme Court agreed with NARF attorney Heather Kendall-Miller’s legal arguments and upheld Alaska tribal government sovereignty against a failed challenge that Alaska Tribes do not possess sovereign immunity from suit. In the case, McCrary v. Ivanof Bay Village, Appellant McCrary challenged the federal recognition of Ivanof Bay Village and the corollary right of the tribe to claim sovereign immunity from suit in the context of a contractual dispute. Appellant was represented by Don Mitchell, an Alaska attorney who has spent much of his career arguing that Congress has not approved Interior’s authority to acknowledge preexisting tribal status. However, tribal government legal status has now been clearly upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court in two successive decisions and McCrary has no other recourse in the state court system