U.S. government finalizes first land grants under 2019 law

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The US Department of the Interior has said the first two grants of federal land to Native Alaskan veterans from the time of the Vietnam War have been finalized.

Frank Nanooruk and Richard Boskoffsky received the first assignments under a 2019 law passed by Congress, according to the United States Bureau of Land Management. The assignments are east of Goodnews Bay in southwest Alaska, agency spokesman Richard Packer said by email on Friday.

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The Home Office said the assignments were finalized on Thursday.

Under the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, Alaskan Natives were allowed to claim up to 160 acres of land. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office said program restrictions prevented many from applying until the 1960s. There was a push to urge Alaskan natives to apply for land. they had not already done so before the entry into force of a law of 1971. But this period coincides with the Vietnam war.

A 1998 federal law allowed veterans to apply for land, but the provisions were seen as restrictive. The 2019 law lifted use and tenure requirements that were part of previous laws and made land available until the end of 2025, the Bureau of Land Management said.

“We have a sacred obligation to American veterans,” Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

She added, “The department will continue to move forward quickly so that the Native Vietnamese-era veterans of Alaska can select the land grants due to them, with a wide area of ​​selection. “

U.S. Representative Don Young, in a statement, said that Native Alaskan veterans in Vietnam “have put their lives in danger for our nation, and for too long the federal government has shamefully broken promises. allocation of land that had been made to them. “

“In the years to come, I look forward to some well-deserved land finally being allotted to these brave Alaskans and remarkable Americans,” he said.

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