Senator Revak Welcomes First Federal Land Allotments to Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans

ANCHORAGE – The U.S. Department of the Interior announced today that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed the first federal land allotments as part of the Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veteran Land Allotment Program.

“Today’s announcement granting Native Vietnam Veterans the land they were promised over 50 years ago is long overdue,” said Senator Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, chairman of the Senate Resources Committee. “As Alaskans and Americans, we owe these veterans far more than a debt of gratitude for the blood, sweat and tears they’ve given to this country – we owe them the land that was promised. And while we may not be able to turn back the clock and make these veterans whole, in the immortal words of Dr. King, ‘The time is always right to do what's right.’ I’d like to thank Congressman Young for his strong advocacy on this issue, as well as our federal agencies for taking action.”

Under the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, transfers between 2.5 and 160 acres of “vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved non-mineral” land were first authorized for individual Alaska Natives who could prove “continuous use and occupancy” of the land for five years.

The program existed for 65 years before it was repealed in 1971 with the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). ANCSA granted large land allotments to newly formed Native Corporations who then assumed the responsibility of granting land allocations to their individual members as the organizations saw fit.

It would take another ten years to settle all the pending land claims made prior to ANCSA, but the federal application period for individual Alaska Natives to apply ended in December 1971 with ANCSA’s passage.

During the Vietnam War, 2,800 Alaska Natives served in the military—a higher rate per capita than any other group. Since the conflict did not end until 1973, both voluntary and conscripted service members were unable to apply for land before the deadline. Multiple attempts were made to get these native veterans their lands, but the federal government delayed at every opportunity. Decades passed, and these native veterans were dying.


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Alaska Senate Majority

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