Alaska Native Veterans seek to revive expired land bill

By  | 

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with Alaska Native Veterans from across the state to discuss the revival of a bill that expired more than 15-years ago.

"Back in the 90's, there was a house bill passed for Vietnam veterans to receive 160-acre land allotment," said Benno Cleveland, former Army veteran. "That's what we're here for, is to re-open that bill so the other veterans from Vietnam can receive their 160-acre land allotment."

On Tuesday morning, the meeting between Secretary Zinke and Native Veterans of Alaska lasted about 45-minutes, and was closed to the media.

Cleveland was one of several native veterans from across the state to attend the round table, he served in the Army during the Vietnam war, and received his land in 2000.

Cleveland says only one third of eligible veterans received their 160-acre allotment of land.

The program stems from the 1906 Native Allotment Act. The original application period ended with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, and was revived briefly in the late 90's for veterans who served between 1969 and 1971.