Tribal Organizations Await Results Of Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Case

Tribal organizations in Alaska and across the country are anxiously waiting for a decision in a case just argued before the U.S. Supreme court.

Salazar v. Ramah Navajo seeks to overturn a lower court ruling that found in favor of tribes when the BIA didn’t fully fund law enforcement contracts. Seventy-five tribal groups in Alaska and 260 tribes in other states are waiting for the decision. The case will also impact contract funding disputes for the Indian Health Service.

Lloyd Miller is one of the attorneys representing tribes in the matter. He says when 12 regional BIA offices with varying degrees of competency are working through appropriation shortfalls for tribal contracts, some tribes get underpaid and others get overpaid. He says the key to the case is a decision that’s more than a century old.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her news tips and program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-550-8452.

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