In the sweeping oil-and-gas moratorium order by President Joe Biden last week, Alaska Native Vietnam War veterans and their heirs got the shaft.
After 50 years of trying to get the Native land allotment they are owed, those selections have now been put on ice.
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of Alaska Native men went to fight overseas in Vietnam. They missed out on being able to select up to 160 acres of land before the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906 was repealed in 1971 with the advent of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
For years, the Alaska delegation in DC has fought to restore that right to acquire their lands, robbed from them under an unjust oversight. But with the stroke of a pen last week, President Biden has once again pulled that land back to federal control.
Biden also put a hold on the transfer of land to the State of Alaska — land that was promised as part of the Alaska Statehood Act.
Former Sec. David Berhardt, as one of his final acts in the Trump Administration, signed four public land order revocations to allow these land transfers to go forward. The new administration is putting them on ice.
As for the State selections of its final land allotment from the federal government, Alaska has been waiting to see where the mineral potential was on the various lands it might select to become developable state lands. Those mineral lands might have become revenue for the State.
In another order last week, Biden ordered that face masks be worn on all public lands. That includes subsistence hunters in places like Kaktovik, who might leave Native land to hunt for food on federally owned lands. According to the order, they must wear a face mask.