In all my life growing up in Igiugig, I do not remember a more spectacular spring season. Everyday the sun is shining, naturally energizing us all. We’ve had more barbecues, maniaqs, and outdoor adventures in an ice-free lake and river. There is something about the outdoors and sunshine that brings the community together and you can feel the happiness. We are such a happy bunch right now if a big rain cloud were to roll up we’d probably jump with pure joy!
In the last month we had a visit from Ruth St. Amour, the local government specialist for DCCED to review the Municipal Lands Trustee Program (MLT). This program is for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) villages that do not have a city government. Section 14(c)(3) of ANCSA stipulates that at least 1,280 acres (unless otherwise agreed upon) of village corporation land conveyances from the federal government must be designated for community use and expansion of a city. In communities without a city, the State of Alaska holds the land “in trust” for any future city (http://commerce.alaska.gov/dcra/pub/OverviewMLTProgram.pdf). The Igiugig Native Corporation finally completed it’s 14(c) survey, and thus just last month all the 14(c)(3) properties were deeded to the State of Alaska in trust for the future city of Igiugig and IVC will be signing leases for parcels that we use. For example, the washeteria, bulk fuel farm, the landfill, etc. are on municipal lands. The Igiugig Native Corporation has also deeded certain properties directly to IVC such as Lot 13, which the clinic sits on, so this property is owned by the tribe and lies outside the MLT. The MLT Program must consult with local residents in the management of municipal trust land, and a representative group called an “appropriate village entity” (AVE) can speak for the community; in Igiugig, the village council serves as the AVE. This is just a little of what I’m learning on the job that I thought worthwhile sharing.