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BLM Alaska Signs Interim Sealaska Land Conveyance Deed


March 07, 2015
Saturday AM

(SitNews) - Friday, Sealaska received interim conveyance for final acreage promised under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In a signing ceremony, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Director Bud Cribley signed the document on March 6, 2015.

“BLM is pleased to be part of this significant milestone toward the completion of the Alaska Land Transfer Program for Sealaska,” stated BLM Alaska State Director Bud Cribley. “The Alaska Land Transfer Program is the work being done by BLM to survey and convey lands under ANCSA as well as the Native Allotment Act and Alaska Statehood Act. BLM anticipates it will take several years to survey Sealaska’s ANCSA lands. Once that is finished BLM will issue a patent to the land.”

jpg BLM Alaska Signs Interim Sealaska Land Conveyance Deed

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Director Bud Cribley signed the document on Friday March 6, 2015.
Photo courtesy Sealaska

“The day the land bill passed, Sealaska directors were discussing the continued viability of Sealaska Timber Corporation (STC),” said Sealaska Chair Joe Nelson. "With the new lands, the board and management will work towards a sustainable timber harvest program with a goal to provide regional community and shareholder economic benefit.”

“We are reviewing the past 40-years of land ownership and are taking a fresh look at how best to improve our approach to managing our land,’ said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “Through our commitment to land stewardship, each rotation of trees will provide shareholders with cultural, language and educational benefits, as well as dividends into the future.”

“Reaching this significant milestone could not have been done, without the leaders who worked on the land agreement over the last forty years, some who are no longer with us,” said Sealaska Lands Committee Chair Rosita Worl. “Sealaska was overwhelmed with the long list of supporters who stood with us through the last ten years and with the dedicated work of our congressional delegation.”

In December 2014, H.R. 3979 was passed by Congress which included the Sealaska land entitltment bill, a comprehensive solution to many issues facing Southeast Alaska. This legislation conveyed 70,075 acres promised under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971, to Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.

The bill represented hundreds of community meetings with local business owners, conservation groups, government leaders and Sealaska shareholders.

Under the bill, 70,075 acres will be returned to Native ownership through Sealaska, including:

• 490 acres of cultural significance with 76 sacred sites
• 1,099 acres for small economic development opportunities
• 68,486 acres for natural resource development

Sealaska’s current land base of 290,000 acres, together with the acreage in the new legislation, represents less than two percent of the Tongass National Forest or a fraction of the traditional homelands of Southeast Alaska Natives.

Under ANCSA Section 7(i) revenue sharing provisions Sealaska will share its natural resource revenue with all Alaska Natives, regardless of where they live. Sealaska is the regional Native institution established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). More than 22,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian shareholders own Sealaska.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


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