The Chenega IRA Council is a federally recognized Indian Tribe that serves the Alutiiq people of Chenega, Alaska. The Chenega IRA Council operates a variety of social, cultural and economic development programs designed to enhance the quality of life within Chenega.
The village of Chenega is located on Evans Island in Crab Bay, (42) miles Southwest of Whittier in the Prince William Sound. It is one hundred and four (104) air miles southeast of Anchorage. Until the March 27,1964 earthquake, old Chenega was an Alutiiq Native tranquil fishing village located on the southern end of Chenega Island in western Prince William Sound. Founded before the Russian arrival in the late 1700s, Chenega was the longest occupied village in Prince William Sound at the time of the earthquake. Moments after the earthquake, a tsunami destroyed all of the buildings in old Chenega village with the sole exception of a single home and the village school. Over a third of the village residents were killed and the survivors were taken initially to Cordova and then were later resettled in the village of Tatitlek by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
With the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the former residents of Chenega formed the Chenega Corporation that acquired the right to select 76,093 acres around the old Chenega Village Township. The Alutiiq Natives enrolled in the Chenega Corporation selected their new village site at Crab Bay on Evans Island in the Prince William Sound in March of 1977. This site was carefully chosen following extensive research as the site best able to meet the needs of the residents’ subsistence lifestyle. The Chenega Corporation and the Chenega IRA Council worked together to obtain funding for roads, a water and sewer system, electric generators, a boat and floatplane dock and a school. The new village named Chenega Bay (renamed Chenega in 2018) was finally occupied in 1984 following the construction of 21 Housing and Urban Development homes.
Chenega is an isolated community accessible only by air or water. Charter airlines provide the majority of the transportation and the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System provides weekly ferry service year round.
Commercial fishing and subsistence activities are an important part of the lifestyle of the people of Chenega. Commercial employment is primarily with the local school, the Tribal council, health clinic, and commercial fishing.
The primary business area of the village includes village council offices, a community center, the Russian Orthodox church, small boat harbor, the Alaska marine highway ferry terminal, and a future local display facility.
Our vision is to revitalize the traditional Chugach Native culture and language. The goal is to make Sugpiaq/ Eyak history and heritage a part of the regular school curriculum with support and direction from our Elders’ traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).Heritage Preservation
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