BLM Alaska Fulfills Final ANCSA Entitlement for Newhalen
The Bureau of Land Management transferred land to Alaska Peninsula Corporation, successor in interest to Newhalen Native Corporation. This fulfills the corporation’s final land entitlement under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act for Newhalen.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was approved in 1971 and authorized Alaska Natives to select and receive title to 44 million acres of public land in Alaska and $962 million in cash as a settlement of their aboriginal claim to land. The bill established a system of village and regional Native corporations to manage the lands and cash payments.
Acting chief of the office of communications for BLM in Alaska KJ Mushovic says BLM has closed 100 villages so far.
“That means that the corporation established by ANCSA to represent a village has received all the acreage it’s entitled to under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.”
This final land patent for Newhalen of 12,300 acres means the village has received over 73,000 acres of land surrounding it, near the mouth of the Newhalen River on the north shore of Iliamna Lake. The acreage is determined on the population of the village in question.
Mushovic says the land patents provide a land base to the native corporations.
“In many cases, the corporations have had title to their lands for many years in the form of an interim conveyance. But a survey is required to complete the formal patent process. So the confirmatory patent more legally describes the lands that may have been interimly conveyed at an earlier date. And that’s the completion of that process. Sometimes lands are patented without the interim conveyance step but the patent is the final piece.”
She says there are over 100 BLM lands that are still in various stages of the patent process in Alaska.