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Alaska tribal recognition opposed

4 May 2007

EKLUTNA, Alaska – As reported by the Anchorage Daily News: "Citing a new application for tribal gambling in Eklutna, Republican legislative leaders say they want the federal government to reverse course and overturn recognition of Native tribal governments in Alaska.

"House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez, and Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, say tribal recognition has had 'profound policy consequences' resulting in jurisdictional conflicts in Alaska.

"Their May 1 letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asks him to delay a decision on Eklutna's bid until his department can review the legal basis of Alaska's 'purported' tribes.

"The letter brought a swift response from the Legislature's Bush caucus, who told Kempthorne the legal status of Alaska's tribes is long-settled.

"…The gambling angle is new, but the fight over tribal status has been going on for years. A similar bid by Republican legislative leaders to undo tribes was made in December 2001. Their letter to Kempthorne's predecessor, Gale Norton, did not bring policy change…"

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