• Avoidance of the Federal Acknowledgment Process: Two Hundred New Petitioners Waiting at the Door

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1988-11)
      Two hundred plus Native villages in Alaska may join the legion of Indian groups in the long line before the gates of the federal acknowledgment process established by Congress to alleviate and rationalize selection of those groups deserving of acknowledgment as Indian tribes. Such a possibility might well seem absurd to those who have studied the pre-contact or modern lifestyle of Alaska Indians, Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut. Their significant commitment to subsistence, their political autonomy in pursuit of a modern Native land claims settlement, and their continuing residence in rural and traditional settings has long been a matter of both academic and political record. Yet for all of this, recent court opinions by the Alaska Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as a flurry of federal district court decisions, have questioned whether Alaska Native villages were and are historical tribes and whether Congress had recognized them. The State of Alaska has taken a uniformly hostile position to the proposition that Alaska Native Villages are self-governing tribal entities. The author explores the historical reasons leading to this situation and calls for the legal and historical research critical to the survival of the legal identities of tribal communities and their land base.
    • From Land Rights to Sovereignty: Curious Parallels between Alaskan and Canadian Indigenous Peoples

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-11)
      Alaska Natives and Canadian aboriginal peoples have been late bloomers in securing land claims based on aboriginal title and its extinguishment. While the reasons for this delay relate to the discrete development of Indian policy in each country, both groups now find themselves seeking explicit governmental authority to regulate this domain. Despite the juridical premise that only those groups capable of controlling land have aboriginal claims to cede and/or extinguish, modern groups must secure federal confirmation of their sovereign powers. Barriers in each country are similar; so are the strategies employed.
    • Legal Culture Blindness and Canadian Indian Law

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-04)
      This paper explores the special problems that specialists in federal Indian law in the United States face when they attempt to understand the legal position of indigenous peoples in Canada, make comparisons and offer assistance and advice. Although the roots of Canadian Indian law in British Crown policy are similar to those of the United States, the evolution of United States and Canadian Indian law occurred in patterns which were as distinctly different as has been the evolution of each country. Although some comparisons can be made between the two patterns of legal development, especially in the realm of policy changes directed at indigenous populations, the core of each legal relationship is very different, especially as it relates to federalism, the constitutional process and role of the courts, and public land issues. Therefore, while models of Indian legal achievements in one country are often used to induce governmental change in the other, especially in Alaska among the United States and in Canada, generally, advocates and United States specialists must exercise extreme caution to avoid legal culture blindness based on a lack of appreciation of the very different historical development of each nation.
    • State Enforcement of Alaska Native Tribal Law: The Congressional Mandate of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

      Conn, Stephen; Garber, Bart Kaloa (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-10-27)
      Law journals, newspapers, and the courts all document Native unrest and dissatisfaction with state management of Native subsistence lifestyles. It is the thesis of this paper that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) requires the state to discover and incorporate community-derived tribal law — customs and traditions regarding the taking and gathering of wild, renewable resources — as the applicable minimum federal standard to the extent that conservation of the resource permits.
    • Why Canadian Indian Law Is Important to Alaskans, Why Indian Law in Alaska Is Important to Canada

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1990-04)
      Federal policy governing indigenous peoples in Canada has been marked by repeated glances south and west (at Alaska) as it has been formed through parliamentary edict, case law and Constitutional entrenchment. Although rooted in a common Crown policy, the discrete history of Canadian policy has diverged from American practice even as the country's historical and its political development have diverged. Unlike United States policy, the underpinnings of Canadian Indian law as it related to aboriginal title land rights and the limits and potential of tribal sovereignty are only now coming into focus. This belated articulation of Indian rights parallels similar developments in Alaska where land rights and tribal rights are only now being defined. In both Alaska and Canada, hunting and fishing rights and tribal governance are political and legal matters whose impact on resource development and control by provinces and states make neat application of older Indian law concepts less predictable. Cases in either place offer guidance to federal courts in either country within a modern debate over public land rights. The author suggests that attorneys in each place monitor case law and legislation only now emerging.