Swift action urged on allotments for Native Vietnam-era veterans

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. (Nov. 14, 2018) Photo courtesy of Senate Democrats/Flickr

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is continuing to push for fulfillment of a federal government promise of land allotments for Alaska Native Vietnam-era veterans.

The Alaska Republican said on Tuesday, May 18, that she has asked the Interior Department what deficiencies need correction, and for additional details on how they plan to prioritize Native veterans’ selections with withdrawals still in place.

Murkowski made her comments after the Interior Department announced its next step in implementing the Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veterans Land Allotment Program. The process is to include government-to-government consultations with federally recognized Alaska tribes and Alaska Native corporations over what the Interior Department cited as “defects” in the decision-making process to open the lands for selection.

“Talk is easy, and I look forward to seeing some actual progress on this issue,” she said. “Alaska Native Vietnam veterans have already waited decades.”

The Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veterans Land Allotment Program was established under Murkowski’s comprehensive lands package, the Dingell Act, which was signed into law in March 2019.