Indian country expansion continues: Fort Yukon, Ninilchik

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Acre-by-acre, Indian Country is expanding in Alaska in 2017.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has two more applications to create Indian reservations (Land into Trust) in Alaska: Ninilchik and Fort Yukon.

The Ninilchik Village has requested that 2.5 acres be placed into federal trust status. The land is located at 66590 Oil Well Road in Ninilchick and houses the Ninilchik Village Transit Facility, which provides transportation assistance to the community, according to a notice from BIA. No change in land use is proposed. Ninilchik is located in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The Native Village of Fort Yukon, also known as the Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government, has requested the federal government take ownership of contiguous lots in the city of Fort Yukon totaling 83,750 square feet.

The lots currently contain the tribal government building and the Chief Ezias Loola Cultural Center. No change in land use is proposed. Fort Yukon lies in the unorganized borough, so there is no local taxing authority.

The Chief Ezias Looa Cultural Center. (Photo from Dancing With the Spirit.)

COMMENT PERIOD

The State of Alaska has 30 days to comment on the transfer of the land to federal reservation status, which exempts it from taxing authority.

Alaskans with an opinion on the matter can send comments to  [email protected] Comments must be received by Friday, September 22, 2017.

Comments can also be submitted to the Alaska Region BIA, 3601 C Street, Suite 1100, Anchorage, AK 99503.

In April the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska applied to BIA to place one-fifth of an acre of land, in three parcels, in downtown Juneau into federal trust status. The land is being used as a parking lot and one section is a vacant lot. BIA has not issued a decision on that application.

In January, BIA approved an application by Craig Tribal Association to place 1.08 acres into trust. It was the first under the Obama-era revised rule for taking tribal land into trust in Alaska