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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.