Attachment is the A Overview Partitions 03-2010 is current


“Partitioning” is the process where heirs owning a portion of a single tract of land divide the land into multiple parcels so that each heir can hold a deed to a specific piece of that land.  With the approval of the Alaska Regional Director or Superintendent, heirs of a deceased Native Allotment or Restricted Townsite may partition their inherited restricted land.  Partitions are allowed under the Native Allotment Act of May 17, 1906 (34 Stat. 197), as amended August 2, 1956 (70 Stat. 954; 43 U.S.C. 270-1 – 270-3).  The implementing regulations are contained in 25 CFR 152.33.

Pursuant to the Act of May 25, 1926 (44 Stat. 629; 43 U.S.C. 733-736 as amended), townsite lots may also be partitioned, depending on lot size and the number of heirs.  Usually a townsite lot is not large enough to be partitioned in order to allow enough useable land for each heir.   All heirs must agree to partition their interest in their Native Allotment or Restricted Townsite.

Although regulations state that the Alaska Regional Director can involuntarily partition a trust (as opposed to restricted) allotment if it is in the best interest of the landowners, an involuntary partition is for trust allotments, where the deeds are signed by the Alaska Regional Director and not the individual landowners.  Restricted Native allotments and Townsite lots are different from trust allotments because the landowners of a restricted land must sign the deeds, not the Alaska Regional Director.  The Alaska Regional Director or Superintendent must approve the deeds.  Therefore, pursuant to 25 CFR 152.33 (a), involuntary partitions of Native allotments or townsite lots are not permissible.

In the event one or more of the heirs are non-Native, the partition will fall under 25 U.S.C. 409(a) guidelines.  Because non-Natives can convey unrestricted interest in the restricted property to the Native heirs (of the same property), the use of 25 U.S.C. 409(a) will allow the Native heirs to acquire the non-Native owned interest in the property in restricted status.  Therefore, the deeds must state that the Native heirs have sold their interest of their restricted property and re-invested the proceeds to receive their parcel(s) in restricted status.  Normally, consideration must change hands between seller and purchaser.  However, 25 U.S.C. 409(a) also allows for a concept of “monies worth” to be used as consideration.  This will eliminate the need to collect money for placement in an IIM Account.

If the land that is being partitioned is leaving restricted status, the following reports—known as the “Big Four”—are required:

  • Current Appraisal;
  • Section 106 Compliance Report (Archeological Inventory);
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document; and
  • Certified Title Status Report.

However, if the land being partitioned is going to remain in restricted status, an Appraisal is usually not required (see exceptions in the “Procedures” section).  Appraisal requests (if required) must be submitted to OST Appraisals, Archeological requests must be submitted to BIA Archeology, NEPA document requests must be submitted to the BIA Environmental Scientist, and the request for a Title Status Report must be submitted to the Alaska Title Services Center.  These request forms are discussed further in the “Procedures” section.