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Congressional pronouncements in the area of Indian law have often been both sweeping and contradictory. To clear away some of the resulting confusion, the Supreme Court has adopted canons for construing these acts: Most importantly, ambiguous statutes and treaties are interpreted in favor of the tribes. In Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie, the Ninth Circuit applied this canon in interpreting the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), determining that Alaska's native villages qualify as "Indian country." This Case Note will show that the court's reliance on the canon of construction was misplaced. The most consistent interpretation of recent Supreme Court precedent involving the canon indicates that it does not apply to the ANCSA.

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Yale Law Journal



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