About Us

The Chugach Heritage Foundation (CHF) incorporated as a non-profit foundation in the State of Alaska to promote three goals:

  • To discover, record, preserve, and promote knowledge and public awareness of the Native cultures of the Chugach Region, namely the history, languages, customs, arts, and achievements of the people of the Chugach Region;

  • To provide scholarships to encourage the educational pursuits of Alaska Native children and adults who are enrolled in the Chugach Region through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended, and their descendants; and

  • To study the needs and aspirations of Native people of the Chugach Region as their awareness of Native culture and conflict grows and changes.

Over the past several decades, the Chugach Heritage Foundation has adapted to a changing environment and still maintained a role as a catalyst for initiating and supporting cultural and educational programs for the Chugach Region.

Our Mission

Chugach Heritage Foundation (CHF) is a non-profit established to support the self-determination of the Chugach Native people through education of original shareholders and descendants, and to utilize, preserve, and promote the tradition and cultural heritage of the Chugach region.

Our Vision

CHF will have a secure financial status. CHF will have strong and effective organizational governance and management. CHF will coordinate and partner with related regional organizations to achieve our mutual goals.

History

1980

1980-1990

CHF began on a small scale in 1985 with the publication of the Chugach Legends followed by the Eyak Legends and it used the book sale revenue for scholarship awards. Just as CHF was starting to grow, the Foundation suffered a setback due to the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the subsequent financial reorganization of Chugach Alaska Corporation in the early 1990’s.

1990

1990-2000

Despite the setback and with the support of Chugach Alaska Corporation, in 1995, CHF renewed and expanded its operations by entering into a partnership with the Tatitlek IRA Council and Chugachmiut to administer a grant awarded from the EVOS Trustee Council to the village of Tatitlek for a cultural spirit camp.  All partners made significant contributions to the effort, and the first camp was held in 1995. 

2000

2000-2010

With the renewed business success of Chugach Alaska Corporation in the mid to late 1990’s, CHF refocused on its scholarship program and this has grown steadily over the last ten years from approximately $2,000 in annual scholarship awards in 1997 to over $800,000 in annual scholarship awards.

In 2009, CHF also took on the role of hosting the annual Russian New Year Celebration. This event brings together over 300 people from communities within and surrounding the Anchorage bowl.

2010

2010-Present

As the business and financial prosperity continued for the Chugach Alaska Corporation, there was increased focus on support CHF and its mission. With new resources available, the CAC pledged to commit $30 million towards a CHF endowment. This generous donation will enable CHF to continue to provide educational resources and cultural opportunities far into the future.
Over this last decade, CHF was able to create new programs while growing current ones. In 2012, CHF created the Barney Uhart Memorial Scholarship program, which honors the contributions of the late CAC President Barney Uhart. In 2019, CHF celebrated the 25th anniversary of its annual Nuuciq Spirit Camp.

Board of Directors & Staff

Sheri Buretta
Sheri BurettaChairman
Sheri Buretta has served as a Trustee on the CHF Board since 1998 and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2020. Sheri was born in Anchorage, AK, and her family is from the Village of Tatitlek.
Marchell Espe
Marchell EspeVice President
Marchell has proudly served as a Trustee on the CHF Board since 2004. Marchell was born in Cordova, AK, and currently resides in Edmonds, WA. Her family is originally from the historic Village of Nuchek.
Violet Yeaton
Violet YeatonSecretary/Treasurer
Violet Yeaton has served as a Trustee on the CHF Board since 2010. Violet and her family are originally from the Village of Port Graham.
Matthew McDaniel
Matthew McDanielChairman
Matt McDaniel began serving as a Trustee on the CHF Board in 2021. Matt resides in Anchorage, AK, and his family is originally from Cordova, AK.
Lauren Johnson
Lauren JohnsonPresident & Executive Director
Lauren started working with the Chugach Heritage Foundation in 2013. She began her role as Executive Director in 2019 and was appointed President in 2021. Lauren’s family originated from the Village of Nuchek.
Stephen Grantier
Stephen GrantierProgram & Systems Manager
Stephen has been working with the Chugach Heritage Foundation since 2008. Stephen was born in Anchorage, AK and his family is originally from Cordova, AK.
Tracy Totemoff
Tracy TotemoffProgram Assistant
Tracy Totemoff has been working as an apprentice for the Chugach Heritage Foundation since 2018. Tracy was born in Anchorage, AK and grew up in Tatitlek, AK.