Created by the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotment Program of 2019 permits eligible Vietnam-era veterans or their heirs to apply for up to 160 acres federal land in Alaska. The program is designed to compensate Vietnam veterans who, because of their active-duty service during the three years prior to the repeal of the 1906 Alaska Native Allotment Act, were unable to file a claim.
On Jan. 13, Alaska Legal Services Corp. (ALSC) hosted a Facebook Live event that provided information about eligibility for the Allotment Program, helpful tips and resources for applicants, and a newly developed self-help tool and other materials on AlaskaLawHelp.org to assist heirs and families of deceased veterans with the appointment of a Personal Representative by the Alaska State Court. A recording of the event can be found at bit.ly/3sX2S3j.
Who is eligible?
Program eligibility extends to Alaska Native Vietnam veterans who served between Aug. 5, 1964, and Dec. 31, 1971; meet the definition of an Alaska Native person, pursuant to 43 U.S.C.1602; and did not previously receive an allotment. An heir of a deceased eligible Alaska Native veteran may also apply for an allotment.
CIRI forwarded a letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to eligible individuals who could be identified as shareholders in May 2020, which urged them to update their contact information with the BIA Alaska Regional office as soon as possible. But the BIA still needs help locating more than 690 potentially eligible veterans and families nationwide and getting those individuals to provide current addresses by calling (907) 271-4506 or (800) 645-8465.
Regulations require allotment applications for eligible, deceased individuals to be filed by a personal representative appointed by the Alaska State Court. Information on the appointment process is available on the Alaska State Court website at courts.alaska.gov/shc/probate/probate.htm and on the ALSC website at AlaskaLawHelp.org.
When can I apply?
The application period opened on Dec. 28, 2020. Applications for the five-year program will be accepted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) through Dec. 29, 2025, and application packages are being mailed to those who already received eligibility notices.
How do I make my land selections?
The BLM created a geographic information system (GIS) mapping tool to show available lands and allow eligible program participants to make their selections. To access the tool, visit bit.ly/2LU7Tcj.
Will other lands become available in addition to those that are currently available?
It is certainly possible, but for now, there are about 11 million acres of public lands to choose from. The best way to monitor available lands is to regularly check the BLM GIS mapping tool.
For the most current information, visit blm.gov/alaska/2019akNativeVetsLand.