The Ahtna Land Department is nearing completion of fulfilling Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) 14(c) obligations. Section 14(c)(3) of ANCSA provides that the village corporations convey to a municipal corporation or the state in trust lands identified for present and future community needs.
The community of Cantwell voted March 27 to tender 822.12 acres surrounding Cantwell to be placed in trust status with the State of Alaska. This major accomplishment allows Cantwell, Ahtna and the federal Bureau of Land Management to finalize the Cantwell 14(c)(3) conveyances.
Under ANCSA, the village corporations received title to the surface estate in and around the village, subject to valid existing rights. The 14(c)(3) provision is defined as a responsibility of the village corporations, but seven of our region’s eight villages, including Yedetena Na Corporation, which had obligations in connection with ANCSA 14(c)(3), merged into Ahtna. As a result, Ahtna now owns the former village corporation lands around Cantwell.
Section 14(c)(3) requires a certain amount of property (between 0-1,280 acres) to be transferred to city governments, and when the community is unincorporated, the property must be transferred to the State of Alaska to be held in trust. All eight of the Ahtna Villages are unincorporated with no city governments, thus the transfer to the State. The State holds the land in trust until a city is established. After a city is formed, the State transfers all trust land to the new city.
Questions about Ahtna’s lands can be directed to the Ahtna Land and Resources Department at (907) 822-3476 or email@example.com.