Current Issue

  • Volume 38,
  • Number 1 -
  • June 2021

Note From the Editor


Alaska Native Corporation Endowment Models
Robert Snigaroff & Craig Richards

New settlement trust provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have significant implications for Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) business longevity and the appropriateness of an operating business model given ANC goals as stated in their missions. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) authorized the creation of for-profit corporations for the benefit of Alaska Native shareholders. But for Alaska Natives, cultural continuation was and continues to be a desired goal. Considering the typical life span of U.S. corporations and the inevitability of eventual failure, the for-profit corporate model is inconsistent with aspects of the ANC mission. Settlement trust amendments to ANCSA facilitate ANC cultural continuation goals solving the problem of business viability risk. We make a normative case that ANCs should consider increasing endowment business activity. We also discuss the Alaska Permanent Fund and lessons that those structuring settlement trusts might learn from literature on sovereign wealth funds and endowments.

Alaska’s Tribal Trust Lands: A Forgotten History
Kyle E. Scherer

Since the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, there has been significant debate over whether the Secretary of the Interior should accept land in trust for the benefit of federally recognized tribes in Alaska. A number of legal opinions have considered the issue and have reached starkly different conclusions. In 2017, the United States accepted in trust a small parcel of land in Craig, Alaska. This affirmative decision drew strong reactions from both sides of the argument. Notably absent from the conversation, however, was any mention or discussion of Alaska’s existing trust parcels. Hidden in plain sight, their stories reflect the complicated history of federal Indian policy in Alaska, and inform the debate over the consequences of any future acquisitions.


Time’s Up: A Call to Ban the Use of Sex as an Investigatory Tactic In Alaska
Kate Goldberg

Sex workers in Alaska are facing sexual violence at the hands of the people whose job it is to protect them: the police. Astonishingly, it is legal in Alaska for undercover police officers to use sexual intercourse and other sexual contact as investigative tools. In 2017, House Bill 112 and Senate Bill 73 were introduced in the Alaska State Legislature to make it illegal for law enforcement officers to have any sexual contact with people under investigation. Upon resistance from the Anchorage Police Department, these bills stalled and were not re-introduced. This Note argues that the use of sex in investigations is a violation of due process and urges Alaska lawmakers to reintroduce and pass these bills.

Selective Justice: A Crisis of Missing and Murdered Alaska Native Women
Megan Mallonee

Across the country, Indigenous women are murdered more than any other population and go missing at disproportionate rates. This crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women is amplified in Alaska, where the vast landscape, a confusing jurisdictional scheme, and a history of systemic racism all create significant barriers to justice for Alaska Native women. This Note examines the roots of the crisis and calls for a holistic response that acknowledges the role of colonialism, Indigenous genocide, and governmental failures. While this Note focuses on the epidemic of violence against Alaska Native women in particular, it seeks to provide solutions that will increase the visibility and protection of Indigenous women throughout North America.

“If a person is murdered in the village, you’ll be lucky if someone comes in three, four days to work the murder site and gather what needs to be gathered so you can figure out a case later . . . but if you shoot a moose out of season, you’re going to get two brownshirts there that day.”

Putting the Last Frontier to Work: In Defense of Alaska Hire
Brendan McGuire

Since statehood, Alaska has had one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. The state has long combated its joblessness epidemic with a suite of laws known as Alaska Hire, which imposes a resident hiring preference on public works projects in the state. This popular law has been in place in one form or another since the state’s first legislature passed an early version in 1960. Alaska Hire’s story changed when former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson wrote a memo to Governor Mike Dunleavy arguing that the law is unconstitutional under the federal Privileges and Immunities Clause and the Alaska Equal Protection Clause, and that the statute should no longer be enforced. This Note provides a counterpoint to Attorney General Clarkson’s memo by showing that Alaska Hire is legal under both the federal and state constitutions. The Note contends that Alaska’s unique circumstances coupled with the legal improvements the current version of Alaska Hire has made in light of its predecessors’ defects cut against Attorney General Clarkson’s arguments. With the future of Alaska Hire in question, this Note hopes to provide a starting point for any future legal defenses of this eminently important law.


Meaningless or Mandatory?: Automatic Probation’s Revival and the Rule of Lenity’s Fall in Chinuhuk v. State
Kate Goldberg & Macklin Willigan

Alaska’s common-law probation system requires that the period of supervision imposed is accompanied by a suspended term of imprisonment. Violation of probation conditions may trigger this suspended term, sending the probationer to prison. Should the probationer complete the entire suspended sentence, he or she is then usually eligible for discharge from probation. In Chinuhuk v. State, the Alaska Supreme Court held that the state legislature had abrogated this traditional scheme with respect to felony sex offenders, replacing it with one that allowed probation to continue although the offenders had completed their suspended terms of imprisonment. This Comment argues that in so doing, the court closed its eyes to any ambiguity in the operative statute, bypassing the rule of lenity’s lessons and enforcing a more punitive result than the legislature may have intended to create.

The Air We All Breathe: Internet Bans in Probation Conditions— Dalton v. State
Kristen M. Renberg & Angela Sbano

In today’s world, the Internet is synonymous with opportunity. Recently, the Supreme Court has even recognized a First Amendment right to access the Internet. However, it is still common practice to assign the special conditions of Internet bans or restrictions for individuals on parole or supervised release. Courts have split on how to strike a balance between the goal of deterrence and protection of an individual’s rights. The Court of Appeals of Alaska weighed into this ongoing debate in Dalton v. State, by holding that a restriction requiring prior approval from a parole officer before any and all Internet use was unconstitutionally broad. This decision marked a departure from precedent, and a general recognition that the Internet has become an indispensable part of living in, and importantly, successfully reentering society today.