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Representative Mary Sattler Peltola works to amend Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; ensure federal assistance for vulnerable populations

Washington, D.C. – This month, Representative Mary Sattler Peltola introduced a bill that would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to exclude certain payments to aged, blind, or disabled Alaska Natives from being used to determine their eligibility for federal assistance programs. The bill would also apply to descendants of Alaska Natives.

“This bill will ensure that Alaska Native Elders, or Alaska Natives who experience disabilities, including blindness, are not excluded from receiving assistance in certain federal programs,” said Peltola. “Currently, these segments of the Alaska Native community are often excluded from federal programs designed to support their critical needs because they receive dividends from Alaska Native Settlement Trusts (ANSTs).”

ANSTs have been set up by Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) to provide dividends to their shareholders without requiring shareholders to pay onerous taxes. The dividends received by shareholders, however, may be counted against them when it comes to receiving certain federal supports 

Peltola’s bill, H.R. 9269, would resolve that issue, ensuring access to critical support for some of the nation’s most vulnerable minority populations. The bill now heads to the House Committee on Natural Resources for consideration.