Congressman Don Young’s Statement on First Federal Land Allotments for Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans
Washington, November 5, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) completed the first federal land allotments under the Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veteran Land Allotment Program. On March 12, 2019, President Donald Trump signed S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was shepherded through the House by Congressman Don Young. This long-time priority of the Alaska Delegation contained language allowing several thousand Alaska Native veterans who served during the Vietnam era to apply for congressionally promised land allotment of up to 160 acres. Due to their service, many of these veterans missed the initial opportunity to apply for these allotments.
Following yesterday’s announcement, Congressman Young issued the following statement:
“Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans put their lives on the line for our nation, and for too long, the federal government fell shamefully short of making good on the promises of land allotments made to them. I am very proud that with the tireless support of Alaska Native advocates and the Alaska Delegation, we were finally able to rectify this injustice,” said Congressman Don Young. “Yesterday, it was my great honor to join the BLM as the first land allotments were finalized and signed. This has been a long time coming, and I encourage eligible veterans to submit interest to the BLM as soon as they can. I am grateful to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan for their hard work and partnership on this critical issue. I want to especially thank Nelson Angapak, whose dogged advocacy and commitment to his fellow Alaska Native Vietnam veterans helped make this possible. In the years ahead, I look forward to well-earned land finally being allotted to these brave Alaskans and remarkable Americans.”
“Thursday’s announcement granting Native Vietnam Veterans the land they were promised over 50 years ago is long overdue,” said State Senator Josh Revak. “As Alaskans and Americans, we owe these veterans far more than a debt of gratitude for the blood, sweat and tears they’ve given to this country – we owe them the land that was promised. And while we may not be able to turn back the clock and make these veterans whole, in the immortal words of Dr. King, ‘the time is always right to do what's right.’ I’d like to thank Congressman Young for his strong advocacy on this issue, as well as our federal agencies for taking action.”
Background courtesy of the Department of the Interior:
The Alaska Native Vietnam Era Veterans Land Allotment Program was established by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019. Through this program, the BLM can provide eligible individuals the opportunity to select an allotment of up to 160 acres from vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved federal lands in Alaska or lands selected by the state or Native corporations, if that entity agrees to relinquish that portion of their selection. This represents the third time that federally managed land has been offered to Alaska Native Vietnam veterans, who did not have access to land allotments while serving during the Vietnam War.
The BLM has worked with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs to identify eligible veterans and their families. To date, over 1,400 veterans and families have been contacted to apply, with almost 130 applications received. Each application can involve hours of consultation with the applicant by BLM staff, followed by weeks or more of researching files and adjudication.
Lands are available for selection through December 29, 2025. For more information on the Alaska Native Vietnam Era Veterans Land Allotment Program and how to submit interest, please visit BLM's program page.