- February 01, 1990
- All Alaska Agents
- Tax Foreclosure Against Native Group Barred
The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that federal law bars tax foreclosures of land owned by groups of Alaska Natives. Matter of City of Nome 780 P.2d 363 (Alaska 1989).
Section 16 of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) (25 U.S.C. §476) provides as follows:
In addition to all powers vested in any Indian tribe or tribal council by existing law, the constitution adopted by said tribe shall also vest in such tribe or its tribal council the following rights and powers: . . . to prevent the sale, disposition, lease, or encumbrance of tribal lands, interest in lands, or other tribal assets without consent of the tribe. . . .
The Nome Eskimo Community was organized under the IRA. It owned two tracts of land in the City of Nome. The city assessed taxes against the land. NEC did not pay the taxes. The city foreclosed.
NEC's constitution gave it the power "to stop any giving or taking away of community lands or other property without its consent".
The court held that the prohibitions in Section 16 and NEC's constitution included tax sales and that NEC had not given its consent. Therefore, the foreclosure was barred.
We should not insure through any tax sales of native land. I do not know which entities the courts will consider an "Indian tribe" under Section 16. Please contact me if you have any questions.
THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.