Ute Tribe Presents Arguments On CARES Act Distribution To Supreme Court
On Monday, the Ute Indian Tribe presented arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court about the distribution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to federally recognized tribal governments. The Ute Tribe raised issues of whether Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) were “recognized governing bodies of Indian tribes” as required by the CARES Act, according to a press release. Previously, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that “because no ANC has been federally ‘recognized’ as an Indian tribe, as the recognition clause [in the CARES Act] requires, no ANC satisfies the [Indian Self-Determination Act] definition.”
The United States, which was arguing to maintain its original CARES Act funding distribution, said in its briefs that for-profit ANCs are “recognized governing bodies of Indian Tribes.” The adoption of this view threatens to undo a principle of federal Indian law that tribal governments have a political, not racial, relationship to the U.S.