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Letter to the Editor

Revive the Dawes Act

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To the editor: The Native veterans who missed the application date for the Native Allotments are going to be disrespected by the Dingell Act process. I wouldn’t want to be the one who tells the veterans/heirs they can only choose land not already claimed. The original claimants in the Yukon Flats got to choose land which were traditional campsites, duel sites, fishing sites, Shoh’ Beaver Creek, Birch Creek, up the Porcupine, toward Circle City.

The veterans must be given the original status of choosing land from anywhere whether it belongs to the wildlife refuge, Doyon Ltd, Gwitchyaa Zhee village Corporation or any other village corporation. The Land Claims Act extinguished the Dawes Act (Native Allotments). There was no land classification in the Yukon Flats until the Land Claims Act of 1971 created Regional and Village Corporations. In 1980, ANILCA created the Yukon Flats National Refuge. The veterans were serving their country during the Vietnam War and missed the land selection status of the pre-land claims and ANILCA applicants. The Native veterans/heirs should band together and unite their voice to change the land selection process so the war veterans would not be disrespected as second class citizens.

On a side note, I was a subsistence fisherman for 30-plus years. My two eldest grandchildren have been running dogs for six years. The fishing seasons have devastated our traditional lifestyle, and there looks like no end in sight. I am a three-year rookie gardener. I respectively submit the Dawes Act should be revived so I could receive land and become a farmer, which the original intent of the act was for. I’d choose somewhere next to water!

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