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Communities

Valdez Apts.

Valdez

Valdez is the community where the Native population represents the smallest percentage of the population. Valdez is located at the east end of Port Valdez on the Valdez arm of the Prince William Sound. Historically, Valdez was used as a trading center between the Ahtna Athabaskan people and the Alutiiq people. Valdez is 115 air miles east of Anchorage and 45 miles northwest of Cordova. Native cultures from around the State are represented. Valdez is dominated by the nearby terminus of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, where many in the Alaska Native community work. In the time since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Natives have also come to Valdez to work with oil spill response vehicles.  Culture is passed down by means of subsistence. The Valdez Native Tribe is the only tribe in the region which currently administers its own 93-638 Indian Health Service contract. The Valdez Native Tribal Council, composed of seven members, is currently seeking federal recognition. Although Valdez is on the road system, it is 300 miles away from Anchorage by road and only 115 by air. Travel to Valdez is most efficiently done by airplane.

Cordova Townhouses

Cordova

Cordova is one of the largest Native communities in the region. The Native Village of Eyak is located on the shores of Eyak Lake, inside the Cordova city limits. Cordova is located on Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The Native Village of Eyak is about 10 miles from the mouth of the Copper River, surrounded by the Chugach National Forest. The word "Eyak" in English means "beach." The Eyak tribe has a different cultural background from other Alaska Natives in the Chugach Region. The Eyak language is akin to Athabaskan, which is spoken by Alaska Natives living in interior Alaska. The language has virtually died out; only one native Eyak speaker remains. The present Native community in Eyak/Cordova is a mixture of Eyak descendants, Chugach Aleuts from the Prince William Sound culture, and other Alaska Natives and American Indians. Subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering remain important realities for the perpetuation of the culture as well as for economic purposes. The Native Village of Eyak is governed by a traditional council, which consists of five council members. Access to Cordova is limited to air and water.

Tatitlek Dock

Tatitlek

Tatitlek is a small village located within the Chugach National Forest, about 22 miles southwest of Valdez. It is seven miles from the now famous Bligh Island, site of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Tatitlek, translated to English, means "Windy Place." The village was established at its current site in the late 1800‚s, after being supplanted at their former location by a copper mine. When another copper vein was discovered at Tatitlek in 1902, the people refused to move a second time. Between the 1964 earthquake and the re-establishment of Chenega Bay on Evans Island in 1984, Tatitlek was the only remaining Alutiiq village in the Sound. In 1989, the Tatitlek Museum and Cultural Center opened as a means of counteracting the loss of the village language and culture. Culture is also transmitted through subsistence. The Native Village of Tatitlek is governed by the Tatitlek IRA Council, composed of 7 members. Tatitlek is only accessible by air and water.

Chenega Clinic

Chenega Bay

Chenega Bay is the smallest community in the Chugach Region, with about 80 residents. Prior to 1964, the village was located on the south side of Chenega Island; hence, its name, which translates from the Sugcestun, to "along the side." In 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami destroyed the village and killed about one third of the village. The remaining Chenegans were re-settled in Tatitlek and Cordova. Twenty years later, the village was re-established in Crab Bay on Evans Island. After the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Chenega Bay became a major center for clean-up operations. The cultural heritage of Chenega Bay is perpetuated mainly through the practice of the subsistence lifestyle. The village is governed by the Chenega Bay IRA Council, which has six council members. Access to the community is limited to air and water routes; inclement weather frequently delays travel.

Port Graham

Port Graham

Port Graham is just around the corner from Nanwalek. It is approximately 4-5 miles from Nanwalek. Although there are numerous familial connections between Port Graham and Nanwalek, the villages have very different characters. One historic difference is that the Port Graham village has had a long-standing connection with commerce. The village is located near an old coal mine. Until it closed in 1986, the Port Graham cannery employed many Port Graham and Nanwalek residents. Port Graham is the only remote village in the region to have two stores. The Native culture has been preserved and perpetuated through the handing down from generation to generation of the subsistence lifestyle including fishing, hunting, and berry picking. The Native Village of Port Graham is governed by a five person IRA Council. Port Graham can only be reached by air or water; inclement weather frequently delays travel.

Nanwalek

Nanwalek

Nanwalek is located on the opposite end of the Chugach Region from Eyak/Cordova. It is on the southwest side of the lower Kenai Peninsula on English Bay at the mouth of the English Bay River. It is the oldest of the modern villages. It also has the highest natural increase (births over deaths) in the Region. A relatively large proportion of village adults speak Sugcestun, their Native language. The translation for the village‚s name is "place with a lagoon." The relative isolation of Nanwalek has allowed it to maintain its cultural practices, including subsistence. The Native Village of Nanwalek is governed by a five person IRA Council. Nanwalek can be reached only be air or water, and inclement weather frequently delays travel.
 

Bear Mountain Apts


Seward

Seward is the largest Native community in the Chugach Region. Seward is located on Resurrection Bay on the eastern Kenai Peninsula. An Alutiiq settlement known as Qutekcak ("big beach") was once the only community on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Many of the longer term Native families came to Seward in conjunction with two institutions which provided care associated with tuberculosis. The Methodist Church moved the Jesse Lee Home to Seward from Unalaska in 1925. In 1936, the Home was caring for 116 children, 90% of whom had been orphaned by tuberculosis. The Seward Sanitarium was established after World War II to treat Native people with tuberculosis from throughout the State. Consequently, the community has a truly pan-Alaskan cultural heritage. The Alaska Vocational Technical Education Center (AVTEC) now brings people from around the State to Seward, including Natives, some of whom have remained after they graduated. The Qutekcak Tribal Council consists of seven members and is seeking federal recognition. Seward is also the closest of the regional communities to Anchorage, being a 2-3 hour drive south.