Terms and Definitions


For the purposes of these NANA Lands department policies, a shareholder is defined as NANA stockholders, their spouses, children, and dependents.

User Groups

  1. Shareholders - personal use
  2. Shareholders - commercial use
  3. Community Project - small project administered and funded by a village
  4. Non-shareholders - personal use
  5. Non-shareholders - commercial use
  6. NANA
  7. Private Companies, including Kikiktagruk Iñupiat Corporation (KIC), the Kotzebue village corporation that did not merge with NANA.
  8. Northwest Arctic Borough School District
  9. State and Federal Government

NANA Lands

Lands owned by NANA include all Patented and Interim Conveyed land transferred to NANA pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In general NANA does not own or have jurisdiction over Native allotments, unless purchased directly from individual owners. NANA does own some former town-site land which was still in larger tracts and transferred to NANA after passage of ANCSA. The majority of town-site lands however, are owned by city municipal governments and private individuals.

The status of NANA owned land is "fee simple," which is like that of any other privately held land in Alaska. Questions regarding use of NANA land, boundaries, etc., should be directed to NANA land offices in Anchorage or Kotzebue.


In Alaska, a town-site usually refers to a community which has received a sub-divisional survey under the federal town-site laws. The town-site laws are a group of laws which enabled residents to petition for the withdrawal and survey of public land in a community, after which qualified or vested individuals were deeded lots and the remainder were held in trust for future occupants. Because most of these town-sites were petitioned for in the 1960's and earlier, many of the people now in the villages lost track of just who petitioned for them and why, and even what a town site is all about. Town site presence or absence has little relationship to municipalities – many town sites are in unincorporated communities even today. Town-site and township are two terms often confused because of their sound alike similarity, but they are completely different – the township being a square unit measure of land six miles on a side.

Within the NANA region, eight villages applied for and received town site lands. The exceptions are the villages of Deering and Kobuk, which did not apply for town site lands. Most unrestricted town site lots are owned by City Municipal governments, Tribal governments, or private individuals. Restricted town site lots are owned by individual Natives and administered by BIA service providers such as Maniilaq or the Kotzebue IRA. Questions regarding town site lots should be referred to the service providers if restricted, or to the respective owners if unrestricted.
Native Allotments

As with town sites, there are two main categories of Native allotments in Alaska (restricted & unrestricted). Certificated Native allotments are private land holdings scattered throughout the NANA region and the remainder of the State. Questions regarding Native allotments should be referred to the individual owners if unrestricted or to BIA service providers if restricted. The majority of the allotments in the NANA region are restricted and Maniilaq Association and the Kotzebue IRA are the main service providers.

Site Control

Site control means you have obtained an enforceable right to use a parcel of land. This right must be formally (or legally) given in writing. Verbal permission is not enough. The person might change his or her mind, the land may change hands, or the person may not even have the authority to give you such permission. A deed, lease, or easement are the most common forms of written authorization to use land.

Why is site control important?

Site control is important because, without it, you literally may be wasting any money expended for a structure and could even be held liable for damage to the land by the person who owns the land. Additionally, in many cases, State and Federal agencies will not release grant funds unless site control is shown in the documentation of the project.