806 F.2d 924 (9th Cir. 1986), 85-4116, Aleknagik Natives Ltd. v. United States

Docket Nº:85-4116.
Citation:806 F.2d 924
Party Name:ALEKNAGIK NATIVES LIMITED; Aleknagik City Council; and Aleknagik Village Council, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES of America; Donald P. Hodel, Secretary of the Interior; Gail Ozmina, Townsite Trustee, et al., Defendants-Appellees, and English Bay Village Council and Port Graham Village Council, Intervening Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:December 19, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 924

806 F.2d 924 (9th Cir. 1986)

ALEKNAGIK NATIVES LIMITED; Aleknagik City Council; and

Aleknagik Village Council, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

UNITED STATES of America; Donald P. Hodel, Secretary of the

Interior; Gail Ozmina, Townsite Trustee, et al.,

Defendants-Appellees,

and

English Bay Village Council and Port Graham Village Council,

Intervening Defendants-Appellees.

No. 85-4116.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 19, 1986

Argued and Submitted Sept. 4, 1986.

Page 925

James Vollintine, Vollintine, Taylor & Carey, Anchorage, Alaska, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Deborah Smith, Asst. U.S. Atty., Monte Engel, Alaska Legal Services Corp., Anchorage, Alaska, for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska.

Before SNEED, KENNEDY, and WIGGINS, Circuit Judges.

KENNEDY, Circuit Judge:

The native Alaskan village corporation Aleknagik and its city and village council brought suit in the district court against the Secretary of the Interior and various individual defendants. The village councils of Port Graham and English Bay intervened as defendants. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and we consider the appeal by the nonprevailing parties. We affirm.

The case turns on the interpretation of statutes relating to the creation and operation of federal townsite laws in Alaska. In 1891 and 1926, Congress extended the operation of federal townsite laws to Alaska. 43 U.S.C. Sec. 732 (repealed 1976); Alaska Native Townsite Act of 1926, 43 U.S.C. Secs. 733-36 (repealed 1976) (ANTA). To bring about formation of a townsite, its occupants were required by ANTA to apply to the Bureau of Land Management for a survey of the proposed exterior boundaries. After the survey, and upon a petition by a majority of the occupants to the Secretary, the townsite's interior was surveyed to be divided into lots and blocks. The petition also would include a request for the appointment of a townsite trustee. This process had the effect of segregating the land from further disposal under public land laws.

After segregation, the occupied areas of the townsite were subdivided by the United States into blocks, lots, streets, alleys, and municipal public reservations. Lots owned by nonnatives paid an assessment for the survey. 43 C.F.R. Secs. 2565.3(a), (b) (1970). Other areas of the townsite remained unsubdivided until occupied. Following subdivision, the Secretary issued patents for the land, allowing the trustee to issue deeds to occupants after payment of any purchase price or assessments. The date of the subdivision survey was the last day for new claims within the subdivision. 43 C.F.R. Sec. 2565.3(c) (1970). Once the subdivision survey was complete, all unclaimed lots could be sold by the trustee at a public sale. 43...

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