Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

The so-called land "freeze" of 1969 continued until December 18, 1971, when Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which provided for conveyance of 40 million acres to Alaska Natives according to the formula shown in Figure 209. ANCSA satisfied Native claims to lands and also imposed constraints on the uses and disposition of all remaining federally owned land in the state to insure that planning precedes any actions taken to classify or release the lands.

Figure 209                 
Total Distribution of Land Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act      
  Enrollment Totals2 Percent of Total Enrollment Land Surface Area Percent of Total Area Acreage Entitled to Receive by Formula Calculation Village Eligibility Based on Population acres/(townships) Allocation of Remainder of 22 million acres Net Acreage Remaining for Regional Entitlement Selection4
(Excluding SE)
(acres) (Excluding SE) (Area%x37,769,600 acres)3
AHTNA 1,057 1.76 18,487,988 5.3 2,001,788 714,240 (31) 44,549 958,030
ALEUT 2,678 4.46 7,130,339 2.1 793,162 1,152,000 (50) 112,891 --
ARCTIC SLOPE 3,741 6.24 54,105,162 15.6 5,892,058 829,440 (36) 157,947 4,073,511
BERING STRAITS 6,965 11.61 14,810,232 4.3 1,624,093 2,096,640 (91) 293,872 --
BRISTOL BAY 5,135 8.56 26,021,012 7.5 2,832,720 2,695,680 (117) 216,671 --
CALISTA 13,562 22.60 35,832,891 10.4 3,928,038 5,460,480 (237) 572,051 --
COOK INLET 8,453 14.09 24,040,862 6.9 2,606,102 529,920 (23) 356,646 1,351,451
CHUGACH 1,837 3.06 9,549,133 2.8 1,057,549 368,640 (16) 77,455 465,011
DOYON 8,853 14.76 128,225,207 37.1 14,012,522 3,525,120 (153) 373,605 8,142,760
KONIAG 3,033 5.06 4,669,446 1.3 491,005 898,560 (39) 128,079 --
N.A.NA.A 4,681 7.80 23,102,243 6.7 2,530,563 1,198,080 (52) 197,434 778,837
(totals) 59,995 100.00 345,974,515 100.0 37,769,600 19,468,800 (845) 2,531,200 15,769,600
1 Calculations as of June 8, 1973, Bureau of Land Management.        
2 Enrollment count as of May 16, 1973, Bureau of Indian Affairs.        
3 SEALASKA will receive 230,400 acres of the total 38 million acres. Calculations are based on remaining acreage.   
4 As some regions contain a large number of villages, the total village eligibility (column 6 and column 7) is greater than the total acreage the region is entitled to receive (column 5). These regions will not receive any regional land (column 8). So that all villages receive their full entitlement, regions which have land in excess of full village entitlement will have their regional entitlement reduced.      
Source: AHTNA, Inc. and Arctic Environmental Information and Data Center, University of Alaska, 1973. The AHTNA Region: Background for Regional and Community Planning.         


Two subsections of ANCSA contain significant provisions affecting land status. Section 17(d)(1) calls for a review of all unreserved public lands in Alaska "to insure that the public interest in these lands is properly protected." Actually, the (d)(1) classification is comparable to the Multiple Use and Classification Law which expired in 1970 and left Alaska without a federal classification law. The Taylor Grazing Act, which governs land management programs in other public land states, was never extended to Alaska. In March 1974 the Secretary of Interior extended the (d)(1) category to include all unreserved and unappropriated public lands in Alaska. All federal lands in Alaska are in a withdrawal status. Section 17(d)(2) authorizes the Secretary to recommend to Congress the designation of up to 80 million acres of Alaska land for use as national parks, forests, and refuges and for inclusion of some of Alaska's rivers in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System (Figure 210).

ANCSA revoked existing Native reserves and will return these unselected lands to the public domain unless reserve residents elect to take ownership in lieu of ANCSA benefits. The Native Allotment Act was also revoked with a commitment to honor applications which predated ANCSA.

Figure 210. Explanation of Land Classification Categories

Major withdrawals prior to Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) (Dec. 18, 1971)

Lands set aside by the Federal Government for particular purposes such as parks, military installations, forests, and wildlife refuges

State selections—patented

Lands conveyed and deeded to the State of Alaska

State selections—tentatively approved

Lands selected by the State of Alaska which have been approved by the Department of the Interior for transfer to the State

State selections—pending

Lands selected by the State of Alaska which have not been acted upon by the Department of the Interior

Utility corridor

Lands withdrawn for right-of-way for proposed transportation and utility purposes

Withdrawals for Native villages

The 25 townships around a Native village from which village selections may be made

Village deficiency withdrawals

Lands withdrawn for villages which cannot meet their selection entitlement from the Native village withdrawal

Regional deficiency withdrawals

Lands withdrawn for Native regional corporations which cannot meet their selection entitlement from the withdrawals in their region

Native allotments

Homesteads of a maximum 160 acres of nonmineral land granted to Eskimos and Indians under law in 1906. Aleuts included in 1956

Former Indian Reserves (elected to be acquired under Sec. 19, ANCSA)

Lands set aside before ANCSA for the use of certain Native groups. These reserves were revoked by ANCSA, but the people living on them had the option to acquire title to these lands rather than to participate in the Settlement Act

Withdrawals for classification and public interest [(d)(1)]

Land withdrawn for classification by the Department of the Interior under Section 17(d)(1) of ANCSA

Withdrawals for possible inclusion in the four national systems [(d)(2)]

Lands withdrawn under Section 17(d)(2) of ANCSA for study and recommendation as possible additions to national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, or wild and scenic rivers systems

Dual withdrawals for (d)(2) and Native regional deficiency (Sec. 17(d)(2)(E), ANCSA)

Lands withdrawn for Native regional selection which if not selected will remain in (d)(2) category

Withdrawals for possible addition to national wildlife refuge system

Lands withdrawn as replacements to refuges from which lands have been removed by Native selections


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