Rep. Young Reintroduces Alaska Native Vets Bill
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young reintroduced his legislation, H.R. 3604, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act. This legislation would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to allow approximately 2,800 Alaska Natives who served in Vietnam and missed an earlier opportunity because of that service, to reapply for their Native allotment.
“This is an issue of what is right and what is wrong,” said Rep. Young. “My bill will finally provide a chance for Alaskan Native Vietnam veterans to obtain land promised to them under ANCSA. It’s a shame that decades later, these honorable men and women are still waiting to receive what’s been promised to them. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill because I will not stop fighting for this until this bill is signed into law.”
Even though a law was passed in 1998 (P.L. 105-276) that amended ANCSA to provide Alaska Native veterans an opportunity to choose lands, there are still three major obstacles that prevent Alaska Native Vietnam veterans their rightful allotment. Those obstacles are:
- Alaska Native Vietnam veterans can only apply for land that was vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved when their use first began.
- Alaska Native Vietnam veterans can only apply if they served in active military duty from January 1, 1969 to December 31, 1971 (even though the Vietnam conflict began August 5, 1964 and ended May 7, 1975).
- Alaska Native Vietnam veterans must prove they used the land (applied for in their native allotment application) in a substantially continuous and independent manner, at least potentially exclusive of others, for five or more years. This requirement was not in the original Native Allotment Act, nor has it been required of other Alaska Native applicants in applying for their native allotment.