ANCs Win Tribal CARES Act Case

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. The economic stimulus bill provides relief for individuals and businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of the relief funds was directed to tribal governments, which included Alaska Native corporations (ANCs). Several tribes filed lawsuits in April 2020, arguing that Alaska’s for-profit Native corporations are not “tribal governments” and should not receive a share of the CARES Act funds.

On June 25, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alaska Native regional and village corporations are eligible to receive federal CARES Act funding intended for tribes. In addition to securing ANCs’ rights to CARES Act funding, this victory upholds ANCs’ inclusion as an “Indian tribe” under the the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and protects the access to federal funding that Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Cook Inlet Tribal Council and Southcentral Foundation utilize to provide their respective programs and services.

CIRI will work with its affiliated service providers to ensure these critical resources are deployed in a manner that assists our people, communities and economy. The amount of funding that CIRI will receive under the CARES Act is not known at this time. What is known is that the CARES Act funding has very specific parameters for expenditures. From the guidance received from the U.S. Treasury, it appears that dividends/distributions to shareholders are not allowed.

For the most up-to-date CARES Act information as it pertains to CIRI, visit