The director of the Bureau of Land Management, formerly associated with eco-terrorism tree spiking activists, was in Anchorage this week, where she signed four more Native land allotments for veterans who had been serving overseas during the Vietnam War, and thus had missed their ability to apply for the land they were entitled to.
Tracy Stone-Manning was in Alaska to survey the Ambler Access proposed road to the state mining district and talk to tribal leaders in the region. The The Ambler Access Project is being developed in close consultation with the tribes and communities throughout the NANA and Doyon regions.
While Stone-Manning signed the four land transfers, bringing the total signed to 12, there are hundreds to go.
The Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veterans Land Allotment Program of 2019 is open to all eligible Alaska Natives who served in the armed forces between Aug. 5, 1964, and Dec. 31, 1971. The law governing this land transfer removed the requirement for personal use or occupancy mandated under previous laws. Applications have been accepted since Dec. 28, 2020, and will be received until Dec. 29, 2025.
The land allotment program gives the opportunity for these eligible Vietnam-era veterans or their heirs to select up to 160 acres of federal land in Alaska under the 2019. Over 2,500 Alaska Native veterans or their heirs are eligible to apply.
Some 298 applicants have completed the application process so far. Another 286 applications are in process, and 51 applications are in draft survey status. It’s slow going at the BLM for getting the land to the veterans, most of whom are in their 70s or 80s.