This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features one of its largest panels to date, as representatives from VA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) break down the details of the Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019.
This episode features:
- Program manager Paul Krabacher (BLM).
- Acting Chief, Adjudication Services Section, Native Allotment Lead Candy Grimes (BLM).
- Land Transfer Resolution Specialist and Acting Native Liasion Ralph Eluska (BLM).
- Deputy Communications Director and Marine Corps Veteran Eric Tausch (BLM).
- Tribal Government Relations Specialist for the Continental/Midwest/North Atlantic Regions and Marine Corps Veteran Peter Vicaire (VA).
The Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 allows Alaska Native Veterans who served in the Vietnam era, or an heir of theirs, to claim between 2.5 and 160 acres of land in Alaska. The BLM website hosts information about the program, including contact information, proposed rules for the program, a link to available lands, answers to frequently asked questions, and video from virtual public meetings about the program.
How to Ensure You Receive your Application
Potentially eligible Veterans should update their contact information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Realty Tribal Service Provider and with BLM.
- BIA Enrollment Verification: (907) 271-4506
- BIA Realty: (800) 645-8465
- BLM Native Allotment Section: (907) 271-5998
Potentially eligible Veterans should also request a copy of their DD-214 from the Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, US Department of Veteran Affairs. Your local VA office or Veteran Service Organization can provide assistance.
After updating contact information and receiving your DD-214, potentially eligible Veterans should ensure their eligibility documents are stored safely and, if necessary, their personal representative knows where the documents are and what land the Veteran wants to select.
How to Ensure the Program Works for You
Potentially eligible Veterans can coordinate a personal representative appointed by an Alaska State Court, or contact the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, for help coordinating a personal representative.
Potentially eligible Veterans should also read the draft proposed rules for the program. There is a 30-day window for public commenting that ends on August 10, 2020.
Use the interactive map of available lands for the program from the BLM website. You can claim and save a plot selection as a .pdf and turn it in with your claim. The map will be updated regularly as more lands become available and allotments are made. (This is an image of the interactive map; please click the link to go to the BLM website to use the interactive map.)
Help Spread the Word
VA, BLM and BIA need every Veteran’s help to spread the word about the program. In order to reach the estimated 2,200 eligible Veterans or their heirs, the program needs its contact information to be as up-to-date as possible. Veterans and non-Veterans can use this PDF flyer to spread the news and ensure that every Alaska Native Veteran who has earned their land will receive it.
BtBattle Veteran of the Week:
- Army Air Corps Veteran Richard Frank
- BLM Website for Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019
- Interactive Map
- Borne the Battle Ep. 172: Robert Primeaux, Lakota Warrior
- VA expands funding for emergency response for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness during COVID-19 pandemic
- VA health care first to have Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services codes for chaplain care
- Study shows VA surgical care better than or equal to non-VA hospitals
Eric Tausch and Rob Laucius contributed to this story. Tausch is a Marine Veteran and the Deputy Communications Director for Bureau of Land Management, Alaska. Laucius is a podcast intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is an undergraduate student at Hillsdale College studying History.