To discharge, without limitation, the fiduciary trust responsibility with a high degree of skill, care, and loyalty.
To ensure that trust assets and resources are managed in accordance with the legal principles and standards governing the performance of trust functions.
Program Goals and Objectives
Federally restricted land includes Native Allotments and Native Townsite lots. The title to federally restricted land, which is held by individual Natives, is subject to restrictions against alienation and encumbrance. The Department of Realty is responsible for protecting and improving trust assets in order for owners of federally restricted land to receive the maximum personal benefit from the land.
The Department of Realty provides services to an average of 35 communities each year. The program consists of four distinct functions, namely Land Transactions, Probate and Estate Planning, Native Allotment acquisition, and Archaeology.
- The Land Transactions staff provides counseling to landowners to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their land. Often land transactions benefit individual owners of federally restricted land and communities as a whole, because rights-of-way and exchanges are necessary to accomplish community projects such as an airport expansion or installation of water and sewer lines. Other examples of land transactions are gift deeds, sales, private and commercial leases, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) leases, rights-of-way, revocable use permits, mortgages, removal of restrictions, partitions, subdivisions, gravel/sand leases, and land exchanges. Federal requirements for most land transactions include federally reviewed and approved appraisals, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) compliance, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance. The Department of Realty coordinates with the Cultural and Environmental Sciences staff to ensure compliance with NHPA and NEPA. The staff also provides rights protection services for owners of federally restricted land, which includes performing field examinations, resolving restricted land boundary line disputes, investigating reports of trespass, negotiating settlement agreements, and other similar services.
- The Probate and Estate Planning staff is responsible for administering and managing the estates of deceased owners of federally restricted land in our region. The staff’s primary responsibility is to gather information and to obtain various legal documents in order to complete probate packages. The probate packages are forwarded to the United States Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) for decision. After a formal or informal hearing, a decision is made identifying the new owners of the land. The staff also provides Indian Will writing services for owners of federally restricted land.
- The Native Allotment staff performs many essential functions, which include assisting Native applicants to meet the stringent eligibility requirements of use and occupancy, verifying accurate legal land descriptions, resolving land conflicts, reviewing legal documents for accuracy and completeness, counseling the Native applicants, and acting as a liaison between the Native applicants and outside agencies. The staff also maintains working relationships with such entities as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations, and various state agencies.
- The Archaeology staff manages archaeological resources through a combination of public education, conservation, law enforcement, and information recovery. Archaeological assessments and consultation undertaken by the staff are required by law under Section 106 of the NHPA and the NEPA. The 1992 amendments to NHPA require that Federal agencies closely consult with tribes, both for projects on and off tribal lands. The staff can assist with this process, as well as, assist with cultural heritage projects undertaken at the local level. Federal authority extends only to federally restricted land. However, federal and state agencies and federally funded or licensed private organizations must comply with federal law regardless of whether the land is federally restricted land or fee land.
Tonya M. Charlie, Realty Director
Phone: (907) 543-7366
Melanie A. Charles, Probate Specialist
Phone: (907) 543-7361
Denise R. Owens, Probate Specialist
Phone: (907) 543-7365
Susan Motgin, Realty Specialist
Phone: (907) 543-7365