Manley Hot Springs
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of December 18, 1971 organized Alaska Natives into twelve regional corporations, loosely designed along ethnic and geographical lines, plus one corporation for Alaska Natives living outside the state; and village corporations for each "Native village" with a Native population of at least 25. Over 200 Native villages eventually organized ANCSA corporations under the state business corporation code, as did a number of urban Native groups. The regional and village corporations received the right to over 44 million acres of land, and they and their members received nearly $1 billion in monetary payments. Generally, the pattern of lands conveyed commenced from where the villages were permanently located and traveled outward in several directions for a maximum distance of about 15 miles. The total acreage entitlement of each village (except in Southeast) ranged from 69,120 to 161,280 acres, with most entitlements being either 69,120 or 92,160 acres (108 or 144 square miles, respectively).
The Municipal Land Trustee Program was created to carry out the requirements of Section 14(c )(3) of ANCSA that provided that every village corporation must reconvey title to "the remaining improved land on which the Native village is located, and as much additional land as is necessary for community expansion, and appropriate rights-of-way for public use, and land for other foreseeable community needs." These lands were to be transferred to the appropriate municipal corporation (a first or second class city) where one exists, or otherwise the "State in trust for any municipal corporation established in the Native village in the future."
The role of the Municipal Lands Trustee (MLT) Program, within the Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) is basically two-fold:
The Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) serves as the "Municipal Lands Trustee" and, pursuant to AS 44.33.755, is responsible for accepting, administering, and disposing of lands conveyed to the state in trust under 43 U.S.C. 1613(c)(3) (Sec. 14(c)(3) of ANCSA). The Director of DCRA is the "Municipal Lands Trust Officer" and is principally responsible, under delegation and general direction of the Commissioner, for carrying out program activities. The Municipal Lands Trustee Program consists of two professional land managers in addition to the Municipal Lands Trust Officer.
The Trustee's role is to be highly responsive to the needs of the communities involved in the trust. What will work for one community may not work for another, so department staff work closely with each village to determine their needs and develop a solution.AS 44.33.755(a)(2) and 3 AAC 190.440 provide that no transfer of municipal trust land or interest therein may be made without the approval of the village residents through their recognized appropriate village entity, or through the passage of a resolution by residents at a special meeting held for that purpose. Most ANCSA villages have recognized appropriate village entities, also known as AVEs.