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Early Alaska Native Land Cases and Acts

With the steady stream of outsiders coming into Alaska, demand and competition for land continued to increase. Churches sought land and acquired it through the Missions Act of 1900, which allowed a religious denomination to acquire up to one square mile of land in Alaska. Disputes over land, particularly between miners, resource developers, and Alaska Native people arose. A string of court cases concerning Alaska Native land rights began, and continued up to the settlement of the Alaska Native Claims Act in 1971. There were contradictory decisions in these court cases, but two early cases in particular held that non-Natives could not acquire land from Indian people without the consent of the federal government. In other words, Alaska Native people had an aboriginal claim to land that only the U.S. government could settle. The first such case, United States v. Berrigan (1905) was heard by Judge James Wickersham, and involved a dispute over land near Delta Junction. The second was United States v. Cadzow (1914), involving a land dispute near Fort Yukon.

Continued here with links to US Law including Alaska Native Allotment Act, Alaska Native Townsite Act, and Reservations in Alaska

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