Alaska News

Native American rights law firm gives grants for tribal health care

BETHEL – A Native American law firm with a sizable Alaska presence announced Tuesday it is launching a $3.5 million charitable program to support tribal health care.

The first grants from Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry amount to $1.5 million and will go to five tribes or tribal health care organizations for capital projects, including two in Alaska.

The law firm is approaching four decades of work in tribal law. Lloyd Miller, an Anchorage lawyer and one of the firm's partners, said in a written statement that the grants "underscore our deep appreciation for the honor of working with Indian Country."

The Alaska grants are $450,000 each. They will go to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to support a new 202-bed patient and family housing facility, and to Southcentral Foundation to help with a new building, the Nuka Institute, under construction in Anchorage to provide space for wellness and therapeutic programs.

Grants of $200,000 each are going to health facilities under construction by the Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasaw nations.

The law firm says it has worked for decades to help tribal organizations take over and manage health operations that had been under the federal government. Three cases on tribal health contracts have gone before the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in wins for tribal organizations to force the Indian Health Service to honor contractual commitments.

Sonosky Chambers has settled 56 tribal cases, some of which were on hold during the Supreme Court battles, and recovered more than $750 million, the law firm said Tuesday.

The firm has offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Washington, D.C., Albuquerque, N.M., and San Diego. Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich recently became a policy adviser to the firm.

Lisa Demer

Lisa Demer was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. Among her many assignments, she spent three years based in Bethel as the newspaper's western Alaska correspondent. She left the ADN in 2018.