Supreme Court Holds Alaska Native Corporations Are 'Indian Tribes' Entitled to CARES Act Funds [July 20, 2021] [open pdf - 678KB]
From the Document: "On June 25, 2021, in 'Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Indian Reservation [hyperlink] (Chehalis)', the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Department of the Treasury's (Treasury) decision [hyperlink] to distribute to the Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) approximately $450 million [hyperlink] of the $8 billion in funds allocated to 'Tribal governments [hyperlink]' under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The challengers had argued that ANCs do not satisfy the CARES Act's definition of 'Indian tribe' [hyperlink], which is drawn from the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). The Supreme Court's decision reverses the judgment [hyperlink] of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit interpreting the ISDEAA definition of 'Indian tribe' as a term of art that, while expressly mentioning ANCs, excludes them by separately requiring federal recognition. The Supreme Court rejected that interpretation and held that the plain meaning [hyperlink] of the ISDEAA definition of 'Indian tribe' includes ANCs because [hyperlink] they are recognized as eligible for a wide array of benefits and services under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA [hyperlink]), and 'the required recognition is of an entity's eligibility for federal Indian programs and services, not a government-to-government relationship with the United States.' An earlier Legal Sidebar [hyperlink] previewed the oral argument in 'Chehalis.' This Legal Sidebar summarizes the statutory background and prior litigation in the case before discussing the Supreme Court's decision and related considerations for Congress."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10626
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/