Five native Alaskan villages asked a federal judge Monday to give them a say in any government settlement of legal claims over the massive 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

But U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin expressed skepticism, asking why the villages do not pursue their claim in Alaska state court, where they have filed a damage suit against Exxon."The United States is seeking to recover a natural resource injury without the consent or participation of the Alaska natives," said the villages' attorney, Michael D. Hausfeld.