Alaska Native veterans who served during the Vietnam era may be eligible for free land

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:38 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Bureau of Land Management is trying to contact more than 600 Native veterans or their family members who are eligible for the Alaska Native Veteran Program of 2019, according to program manager Candy Grimes.

The program allows eligible vets, or their heirs, who served sometime between August 1964 through December 1971, to apply to receive up to 160 acres of federal land in Alaska.

“They had to have been active service for at least a day during that part, with an honorable discharge,” Grimes said. “And not received lands under any other Native allotment act.”

Grimes said nearly 2,000 veterans and family members are eligible for the program, but as many as 652 letters mailed to let them know were returned for having bad addresses. She’s asking people to spread the word to anyone they know who could qualify.

“Even if you didn’t receive a letter from the Bureau of Land Management and you believe you or someone you know is a veteran qualified for this, please contact the Bureau of Land Management so we can get you to apply,” Grimes said. “We want everyone to apply to get the land that they so deserve.”

The total acreage available for the program is 28 million. Although parcels have been available for selection as early as March 2019, Grimes said significant tracks of land were released as recently as Sept. 14 of this year. She added it can take a year or more from the time of application to actually receiving land. So far, 228 people have applied for the program and 8 have been awarded parcels.

The BLM website has information on who can qualify and how to apply. Lands will be available for selection through Dec. 29, 2025.