Alaska Native veterans see rights, respect given decades after service in Vietnam War
On Friday, it came full circle. Nelson Angapak, a U.S. veteran who served during the Vietnam War era, finally received recognition he sought for his service decades ago.
The Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act will enable some veterans who served from 1964-1971 to apply for land parcels of 160 acres. Many service members were not able to apply after serving and subsequently missed out.
"One the primary reasons some of us kept at it was that we made a vow to Sen. [Ted] Stevens that we would find a way to get this authorized however long it takes and however long effort we may need to take to get it accomplished," Angapak said Friday in Anchorage.
A signed copy of the bill was presented to Angapak by Sen. Dan Sullivan. The legislation is part of Alaska's senior Sen. Lisa Murkowski's larger lands package.
Sullivan says veterans were treated poorly upon their return home and Alaska Native veterans experienced ever worse.
"It's an injustice were glad we're able to fix," said Sullivan.
Spouses or children of veterans who have since passed away are eligible to apply for the allotment owed to their family members.
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