Alaska Native Allotment Act Entitlements
The Alaska Native Allotment Program has evolved over time as new legislation amended the eligibility of Alaska Native groups and application time frames since the initial law. The Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), Section 905 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotment Act of 1998 and the 2019 Alaska Native Vietnam era veterans land allotment section of the John D. Dingell, Jr., Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9, Sec. 1119) are all important legislation that has shaped BLM Alaska's Alaska Native Allotment Program.
Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906
Land transfers to individual Alaska Natives were first authorized by the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906 (34 Stat. 197). The Allotment Act, as amended, authorized the Secretary of the Interior to convey up to 160 acres of “vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved non-mineral” land to individual Alaska Natives who could prove as head of household “substantially continuous use and occupancy of that land for a period of five years.” More than 10,000 Alaska Natives filed allotment applications before 1971.
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971
Enacted in 1971, ANCSA included a provision repealing the 1906 Allotment Act but with a savings provision allowing the Department of the Interior to finalize the approximately 15,000 individual allotment claims then pending before the department. In 1981, Section 905 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) legislatively approved the vast majority of the pending allotment act applications.
BLM Alaska is nearing completion of land transfers under the 1906 Alaska Native Allotment Program. As of April 2019, over 16,000 parcels have been conveyed to individual Alaska Natives and approximately 251 parcels remain to be processed.
Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotment Act of 1998
Another act authorizing land transfers to individual Alaska Natives is the Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-276). This Act authorized the Department to provide a new 18-month filing period (ending in January 2002) to qualifying Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans who, because of their active-duty service during the three years prior to the repeal of the 1906 Act, were unable to file a claim. Certificates for 255 allotments have been issued, and four parcels remain pending under this law.
Alaska Native Vietnam era veterans land allotment section (Sect. 1119) of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9)
The Alaska Native Vietnam era veterans land allotment section of the John D. Dingell, Jr., Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Dingell Act) of 2019 was enacted in Public Law 116-9, Sec. 1119. It allows any Alaska Native Vietnam veteran who served during the period of Aug. 5, 1964, through Dec. 31, 1971 and did not previously receive a Native allotment to apply for up to 160 acres of federal land. The new act removes the requirement for use and occupancy of the lands applied for, freeing applicants to apply for available lands anywhere in the state. The heirs of deceased eligible Alaska Natives can also apply.
The BLM will identify available lands prior to beginning the application process, which should increase program efficiency. Although the BLM will identify lands initially available for selection by March 12, 2020, it anticipates identification being an ongoing process as more lands become available over time. Duly appointed personal representatives can apply on behalf of the estates of deceased, eligible veterans without regard to cause of death. Specific application rules are anticipated in September 2020, and the five-year application period will begin when those rules go into effect.
*Stay updated with a detailed timeline and answers to frequently asked questions about the Alaska Native Vietnam era veterans land allotment section of P.L. 116-9, Section 1119.