Eligible Vietnam Era Veterans Can Obtain Up to 160 Acres of Land
At least 159 Alaska Native Veterans in Calista Region Meet Eligibility Criteria
Storyknife, September/October 2022 edition
The federal government has significantly increased the acreage available in the Calista Region—and statewide—for eligible Alaska Native Vietnam War-era veterans or their heirs to select an allotment.
In the Calista Region, roughly 3.7 million acres of federal land are available for eligible veterans or their heirs to select an allotment of up to 160 acres. That is a huge change. Until this fall, only 1.2 million acres of land throughout Alaska were available for selection by eligible veterans or their heirs.
The application process is complex, and the deadline to apply is on December 29, 2025.
This allotment program is limited to Alaska Native veterans who served between Aug. 5, 1964, and Dec. 31, 1971, or the heirs of deceased eligible veterans.
Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has a list of 159 veterans from the Calista Region who meet the criteria. Anyone who received an allotment under a previous program is ineligible, and heirs must apply through a personal representative appointed by the Alaska State Court System. Discharge paperwork is required.
A SACRED OBLIGATION
In August, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland called the opening of additional lands available in this program “a significant accomplishment in honoring our sacred obligation to America’s veterans.”
“The Department is proud to move forward expeditiously so that Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans are able to select the land allotments they are owed, with an expansive selection area,” said Haaland, whose father served during the Vietnam War.
LANDS AVAILABLE STATEWIDE
It is important for veterans and heirs to be aware that they are not restricted to selecting lands in their ancestral region, explains Tisha Kuhns, Calista VP for Land and Natural Resources. For example, an Alaska Native applicant from the Calista Region could apply for an allotment in the Bering Straits or Bristol Bay regions, and vice versa.
“If you are a veteran or an heir, you do not have to select in the Calista Region at all. This allotment program includes 27 million acres statewide. That is a lot of land to choose from,” Kuhns says.
Currently, most of the federal land in the Calista Region open to allotment applications is more than 100 miles inland from the coast in the Yukon and Kuskokwim river drainages. However, there is still some land available in the Goodnews Bay area. Right now, no lands are available for selection in national wildlife refuges, but potential additional acreage in refuges has been identified by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and could be authorized by Congress.
Kuhns encourages all eligible applicants to review maps of the available lands, seek assistance, and begin the process of applying for an allotment. The application process is complex, and the deadline to apply is on December 29, 2025.
“Please talk to any of your affected family members and get those applications in as soon as possible,” Kuhns says. “Other applicants could be selecting the area you are interested in, and applications are taken in on a first-come, first-serve basis.”