I have highlighted some text of an article written by Mary Kauffman and found on sitnews.us. While Alaska’s US congressman Don Young was in Ketchikan, Alaska over President’s Day weekend, he sat down to speak to the local media.
Congressman Young spoke about the importance and urgency for the federal government to finally settle Sealaska’s final land conveyances.
Young said, “One of the things that I believe is that both the Native Land Claims Act and the Statehood Act have not been fully implemented as far as ownership of land.” He said after almost 50 years of statehood, Alaska is still short 50 million acres of land that the state does not have title to.
There is a huge amount of land that Sealaska, the landless groups and the Native Land Claims Settlement haven’t gained title to also and that’s been going on since 1971, said Young.
H.R. 3560, The Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act, is bipartisan legislation introduced by Young in November 2007 that will allow the Sealaska Native Corporation to receive its remaining land conveyance under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 – after more than 35 years since the Act was signed into law.
If passed, “This legislation will redress the inequitable treatment of the Native Regional Corporation for Southeast Alaska – Sealaska Corporation – by allowing it to select its remaining land entitlement under Section 14 of ANCSA from designated federal land in Southeast Alaska,” Young said in November.
When announcing the bill, Young said, “It’s unfortunate that after more than 35 years since the passage of ANSCA, Sealaska has still not received conveyance of its full land entitlement. As a result of its small land entitlement, it is critical that Sealaska complete its remaining land entitlement under ANCSA in order to continue to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of its Native shareholders, and of the Native community throughout Alaska.”
“Primarily there is a dispute between the agencies,” said Young, “and I don’t think agencies should go contrary to what the Congress passed in the law.” On Monday he said, “We ought to take and get these things done as fast as possible.”