601 DM 2 - Valid Existing Rights Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

  • Series: 34-PUBLIC LANDS (Parts 600-620)
Office of the Solicitor

3/12/2021 - replaced Word document with updated 508 compliant PDF document.

The purpose of this release is to resolve the question of the extent to which 601 DM 2 dealing with valid existing rights under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act should apply retroactively to situations which had occurred and to decisions which had become final prior to the effective date of Secretary's Order 3029 which was November 20, 1978.  Secretary's Order 3029 was converted to the Departmental Manual (601 DM 2) on May 8, 1979.

By this release I hereby adopt the memorandum from the Solicitor dated June 2, 1979, (attached as Appendix 3 to 601 DM 2) as the position of the Department on the retroactivity of policy set forth in 601 DM 2.2.  I specifically decided, based on the principles set forth in the Solicitor's memorandum, that In Re Appeals of State of Alaska and Seldovia Native Association, Inc.  ANCAB Nos. VLS 75-14 and 75-15, decided June 9, 1977, 2 ANCAB 1, 84 I.D. 349, is reversed to the extent it is inconsistent with 601 DM 2.2, but that In Re Appeal of Eklutna, ANCAB, No. VLS 75-10, decided December 10, 1976, 1 ANCAB 190, 83 I.D. 61, is not reversed even though portions of it are inconsistent with 601 DM 2.2.  This result derives from the fact that the parties in interest to In Re Appeal of Eklutna have relied on the decision to negotiate a settlement of their dispute and no useful purpose would be achieved by upsetting that negotiated settlement.  In addition, the land has been conveyed and is no longer under the Department's jurisdiction.  The land at issue in the other appeal has not been conveyed and the parties in interest have not changed their position in substantial reliance on the opinion.  Finally, I hereby decide that 601 DM 2.2 will apply to all other land still within the Department's jurisdiction.

In addition, I hereby adopt the memorandum from the Solicitor dated November 20, 1979, which was published in the Federal Register at 45 FR 1692, January 8, 1980, as a necessary clarification to the position of the Department expressed in the original order.  Regarding adjudication of third party valid existing rights, it is appropriate for BLM to determine in the first instance the validity of those interests created by federal laws, which are administered by BLM, other than unpatented mining claims under the Mining Law of 1872, 30 U.S.C. 22 et seq., and rights-of-way under RS 2477 (repealed in 1976 by 90 Stat. 2793).

This decision is effective immediately and is documented in 601 DM 2.5 and 2.6.