CRRC 2019 Q2 Newsletter

by | Jun 20, 2019 | News, Newsletter

Chugach Regional Resources Commission
Quarterly Update

CRRC has been busy these last few months! Take a look below to see what staff have been up to. We also include other regional and noteworthy news.

CRRC Receives 2018 Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award in the field of Distinguished Service in Education

In 2016, CRRC initiated a traditional foods program to conduct a baseline assessment of food consumption, use and harvest patterns to develop wellness strategies in the face of a changing environment. Through this endeavor, a traditional foods poster was created that portrays subsistence foods in southcentral, Alaska. This poster serves as a window into the lives of the people of the Chugach, a glimpse of the traditional foods that are important to their cultural identity and a stepping stone to protect a subsistence way of life that desperately needs to be preserved.

This award recognizes an Alaska individual or organization that has helped strengthen communities by contributing to a better understanding of the world, one another, and the human experience.

We realized for many people of the region, connections and memories to traditional foods are intertwined with the stories of their lives. The primary food sources have changed dramatically and foods gathered in the wilderness are no longer available. While traditional foods restore physical health, they are also central to cultural and spiritual traditions. These foods strengthen communities and support the unique culture of the region and are often the center of special occasions such as family gatherings and holidays. The intrinsic value of harvesting foods in traditional ways cannot be over stated. A local statement is “when the tide is out, the table is set”.

Traditional foods are more than just commodities; they are gifts that help to always remember who we are and where we come from because foods weave together the very social fabric that makes a community. When people are actively pursuing wild game or fishing sacred waters, they are gifted with new memories and those of a distant past that bring a sense of belonging while promoting balance and generosity.
This creation serves as a legacy to the people of Alaska. Alaskans have great potential to shape a food system that feeds the future in a way that strengthens relationships with all living things and promotes cultural continuity. This can be done by becoming more than just consumers of foods but advocating for ancient foods. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share a part of the culture with Alaska. Healthy and productive people are the cornerstone of healthy communities. 

Many thanks to our staff who made this dream a reality!

Marie “Pipiyaq” Paul – Lifetime Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities

Marie Paul, born on May 11, 1961, in Bethel, Alaska, was a valued member of the Bristol Bay community. Her tireless dedication to uplifting her people and preserving her Yup’ik heritage left an indelible mark on those who knew her.

Marie spent most of her formative years in Togiak, AK, where she married her husband Herman in 1990 and raised their five children. Over the years, Marie contributed significantly to the Bristol Bay Community in a variety of roles. Marie served on the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation (BBNCEF) Board for more than 24 years and became its President in December 2007. Additionally, Marie was an active member of the BBNC Board of Directors since 2006. Marie was also involved locally and served on the Traditional Village of Togiak and the Southwest Region School District School Board. Her most recent role was as the Togiak Learning Center Coordinator for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus.

Marie passed away unexpectedly on December 18, 2022. Her unwavering commitment to the betterment of Bristol Bay and her deep love for its people and traditions will continue to inspire future generations.

CRRC Welcomes New Deputy Director,
Loren Peterson

Loren Peterson was raised in Mountain Village, a predominately Yupik community located on the Lower Yukon River. He has dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for Alaska Natives while protecting cultural values. Loren recently served as Chairman and President/C.E.O. of Azachorok Inc., an A.N.C.S.A. Village Corporation.  During his tenure at Azachorok, Loren was recognized by the Alaska Journal and awarded a Top 40 Under 40 honor for his dedication and community service to the Alaska Native community through a broad spectrum of roles and capacities in federal, state and tribal organizations.

Loren completed his B.A. in Journalism with emphasis on Political Science at the University of Oregon and spent time studying at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks including the Rural Alaska Honors Institute program prior to entering college. However, it was due to his experience as a staff assistant to U.S. Senator Ted Stevens in Washington, DC that lured him into studying politics. After completing his undergraduate degree, he earned a scholarship for the Native American Political Leadership Program at George Washington University, where he completed graduate level courses in Political Management and Lobbying.  While at the GWU, he interned at the National Congress of American Indians where he was exposed to the wide-ranging of issues impacting Alaska Natives and Native Americans.

After returning to Alaska, Loren was elected as a Asa’carsarmuit Tribal Council member in Mountain Village while working full time as an Environmental Program Director for the Yupiit of Andreafski in Saint Mary’s, Alaska. He then went on to become a legislative aide for State Senator Donny Olson, where he spearheaded legislation to create the Alaska Native Language Preservation Council (ANLPC). The passage of the legislation allocated $1 million towards efforts to restore indigenous languages statewide through the work of the ANLPC.

More recently, Peterson worked at the Alaska Conservation Foundation as the Alaska Native Fund Program Officer where he played a key part towards establishing a sustainable Alaska Native Fund endowment fund with the goal of awarding $500,000 annually to the Alaska Native community for conservation efforts addressing energy, climate change and sustainable economic development to name a few.  Loren also has extensive experience in campaigning, legislative advocacy and facilitation.

Loren is looking forward to serving the communities of the Chugach region. “I hope to be a great asset and will be able to contribute meaningful service to it’s members in advancing the mission of CRRC so that the communities we support may gain the tools and expertise to be resilient and continue their efforts to protect critical subsistence resources and Alaska Native ways of life.”

Loren Peterson has served on the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association board as well as the North Start Alaska board. He currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Loren can be reached at:

Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery Partners with Oceans Alaska

The shellfish hatchery in Seward has been working with Oceans Alaska in Ketchikan on a Alaska Sea Grant project to produce geoducks. APSH has been producing geoducks as needed for almost 20 years. The cooperative arrangement has APSH conditioning and spawning adult geoducks and providing juveniles for nursey culture at the Oceans Alaska facility in Ketchikan. In January, Mike Mahmood Production Manager took 500,000 “eyed” larvae to Ketchikan to help Oceans Alaska staff learn how to “set” the clams. Setting is the process where the clams go from a larvae phase and metamorphose into their adult form.

Mike also carried algae cultures to use to help get their algae production system up and running. The “technology transfer” is a major component of the grant.

APSH currently has another 500,000 juvenile geoduck clams which will be transferred to Oceans Alaska in April for experimental nursery studies.

Voices of the Kenai

CRRC is on the steering committee of a newly-formed group, Voices of the Kenai. The steering committee includes John Morton (Kenai National Wildlife Refuge), Branden Bornemann (Kenai Watershed Forum), Willow Hetrick (Chugach Regional Resource Commission), Syverine Bentz (Kachemak Bay Research Reserve) and Bjorn Olson (Kachemak Bay Conservation Society). Three of our group are lifelong residents themselves, having grown up in Homer, Moose Pass and Seward. This is a different way of approaching climate change, we realized there are many stories to be heard, if we would hold some “listening sessions.” 

Read more here.
Board of Game Training & Workshop

March 12-15, CRRC hosted a workshop in conjunction with the Alaska Board of Game meeting at the Sheraton in Anchorage, Alaska. The purpose of this grant is to implement a Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering Regulations Workshop (Workshop) to provide an introduction to the operations of the Board of Game, review of proposals effecting subsistence hunting regulations in Alaska, and methods of providing effective testimony. Several member Tribes have expressed frustration with the federal and state management of subsistence resources and specifically, the Board of Fish and Board of Game processes. This Workshop was not be limited to CRRC Tribes and members, in fact, we were joined by Tribal members from Tanana and Nome! CRRC invited ADF&G Board Support staff as well as Board of Game members.

Photo on left: Day 2 of the Training. Back row from left to right: Loren Peterson (CRRC), Chelsea Kovalcski (CRRC), Hope Roberts, Valdez, Melissa Ingersoll, Nome, Eric Kvasnikoff, Nanwalek, Timothy Malchoff, Port Graham. Front row from left to right:  Jim Simon, Fairbanks, Deborah McMullen, Port Graham, Charlie Wright, Tanana.

Photo on right; Day 4 or the Training. From left to right: Chelsea Kovalcski (CRRC), Jim Simon, Fairbanks, Charlie Wright, Tanana, Willow Hetrick (CRRC), Eric Kvasnikoff, Nanwalek, Timothy Malchoff, Port Graham, Deborah McMullen, Port Graham, Patty Schwalenberg (CRRC).