History of the Region
Archaeological diggings show that the Chugach people have occupied the area for thousands of years, from the time when the Sound was still largely covered by glaciers during the last ice age. They were also the first Alaskans to meet the European explorer, Vitus Bering, who came to Alaska at Kayak Island in 1741 under the Russian flag. Since the founding of Fort Saint Constantine at Nuchek Village in 1793, the Russian culture has played an important role in Chugach history. Famous Spanish, English and American explorers have also left their mark on the history of the region. During the Early American period, the Region’s mineral and fisheries wealth attracted immigrants from all corners of the globe.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, commonly abbreviated ANCSA, was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 18, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. ANCSA was intended to resolve the long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in Alaska, as well as to stimulate economic development throughout Alaska. The settlement extinguished Alaska Native claims to the land by transferring titles to twelve Alaska Native regional corporations and over 200 local village corporations. A thirteenth regional corporation was later created for Alaska Natives who no longer resided in Alaska. Chugach Alaska Corporation was the last regional corporation to incorporate in 1972 under ANCSA.
The corporation is comprised of over 2400 Alaska Native shareholders from the Chugach region.