ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska’s top lawyer has released a legal opinion on the status of tribal sovereignty in the state.

State Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth addresses the opinion to Gov. Bill Walker, stating that tribes do exist in Alaska and their governments have inherent sovereignty.

The 16-page opinion outlines him tribal issues clarified over the years by the courts. It does not take positions on areas courts have not addressed.

 

For example, Lindemuth notes that tribes are legal entities separate from other governments. The state, however, initially held that legally, tribes did not exist. The federal government formally recognized Alaska tribes in 1994, a determination that was initially challenged by the state.

Currently, there are 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska. There is just one reservation, the southeast Alaska community of Metlakatla.