Murkowski: Maniilaq Land Transfer Means Health Care Gains in Kotzebue

Senator’s Amendment Finalizes the Alaska Native Non-Profit’s Expansion Plans

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski today was proud to see her U.S. Senate colleagues unanimously approve HR 443, which transfers the deed for several acres of property in Kotzebue from the Indian Health Service (I.H.S.) to the Maniilaq Association and gives them “unencumbered ownership” so they can fully develop and expand their health care facilities autonomously.

The bill passed includes Senator Murkowski’s substitute amendment, which strengthens the bill’s ability to deliver on its promise of modern health care that grows with the Northwest Arctic Borough region.

The bill is a win-win for the Maniilaq Association, which faced additional challenges after initially receiving the property by a “quit claim” deed in 2009 – a type of deed that makes it more difficult for them to secure loans to expand and improve their current health center.  Earlier this year, Deputy Director Paul Hansen of the Maniilaq Health Center testified to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that the legislation:

“Gives the Maniilaq Association more security in its title and more flexibility in use of the property in carrying out health and social services programs for its member villages.”

Beyond that, Senator Murkowski successfully worked with stakeholders on an amendment that clarifies the bill language to add even more certainty to the process.

(Maniilaq Health Center)

Earlier this year, the Indian Health Service voiced its support behind this plan in front of Senator Murkowski at the Senate Committee for Indian Affairs, speaking of the “tribe’s initiative to expand access to its health care system for community members.  This proposal will give the Maniilaq Association flexibility to leverage additional resources because ownership of the property under a warranty deed will give them unencumbered ownership of the property.”