The current and future authority of Alaska’s tribal governments

The state and tribes have a relationship that is at times tense but there has been progress on some fronts. This week there was an announcement that the first joint tribal/state court would be starting up in Kenai as a partnership with the Kenaitze Indian tribe and the state. A tribal and state judge will sit side by side and preside together over a wellness court, dealing with substance-related criminal cases.

It was not many years ago that the state would not recognize tribal court adoption orders, so this is a move forward. And today we’re going to be discussing another potential avenue for increased recognition of tribal government authority and that is the ability of Alaska tribes to request having certain lands taken into trust by the Interior Secretary. The state is challenging that decision.

Listen Now:

HOST: Lori Townsend


  • Heather Kendall Miller, tribal rights attorney
  • Sarah Obed, Vice President of external affairs, Doyon

KSKA (FM 91.1) BROADCAST: Friday, Oct. 16, at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 17, at 6:00 p.m.

Alaska Public Television BROADCAST: Friday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 17, at 6:00 p.m.

Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-350-2058.

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