About Us

Strengthening Our Tribal and Community Institutions

About Tyonek and the Tebughna Foundation

About Tyonek

Tyonek, located on the northern shore of Tikhatnu (the Cook Inlet), is on the traditional territory of the Dena’ina Athabascan people. We are Tebughna – Dena’ina for “the beach people”. For time immemorial, the people of Tyonek have embraced a rich traditional culture of subsistence, song, dance, storytelling, and spirituality. Hunting, trapping, fishing, and whaling has sustained the people of Tyonek to the present day. Tyonek has seen many changes over the years.

In the 18th century, the Russians began to settle the southern coast of Alaska to harvest furs. Russian trading settlements were established at “Tuiunuk” but were destroyed in conflicts between the Natives and the Russians. Russian Orthodox missionaries gained a foothold in the region. In 1778, Captain James Cook sailed up Tikahtnu, which now bears his name. His journal provides a description of the Athabascans, who possessed iron knives and glass beads. Between 1836 and 1840, half of the region’s Native people had died from a smallpox epidemic.

In 1867, the Alaska Territory was purchased by the United States. After gold was discovered at Resurrection Creek in the 1880s, Tyonek became a major port for goods and people. In 1915, the Tyonek Reservation (also known as the Moquawkie Indian Reservation) was established. The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 devastated Native communities in the region. Shortly thereafter, measles, tuberculosis and other diseases wiped out entire villages. In 1934, the last chief of Tyonek, Simeon Chickalusion, rescued the surviving villagers in Susitna Station, including master storyteller Shem Pete, by boat and relocated them to Tyonek.

The Native Village of Tyonek (NVT) was organized in 1939 under the Indian Reorganization Act. NVT remains the tribal government for the community of Tyonek and is led by the tribal council. In 1962, oil and gas deposits were discovered in the Cook Inlet. In 1968, Tyonek Tribal Council President Albert S. Kaloa Jr. used the village’s wealth from oil sales to finance the organization and meetings of the fledgling Alaska Federation of Natives. AFN went on to spearhead the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. In 1973, under ANCSA, Tyonek formed Tyonek Native Corporation (TNC).

About Tebughna Foundation

The Tebughna Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in September 2007 and received its non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service in June 2009. Tebughna Foundation was formed to provide scholarships to TNC shareholders or NVT tribal citizens who are pursuing higher education or vocational training. Since then, our mission has expanded beyond education and training to include financial support for medical and funeral expenses, cultural and community events, Dena’ina language revitalization, and community development.

Through generous contributions from Tyonek Native Corporation, and donations from partner organizations and individuals, TF is able to continue its mission to provide funding for education, and community and cultural programs. With your support, we are able to keep a positive outlook on the future. We are heartened by the successes of TNC shareholders and NVT tribal citizens.

To all those who continue support the Tebughna Foundation, “Chiqinik” (Thank You).

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children” ~ Sitting Bull