March 27, known as Chenega Day, is a day with a lot of meaning to Chenega Corporation as a whole. This day marks immeasurable loss and unimaginable hardships faced by our Native leaders. On March 27, 1964, the island Village of Chenega was destroyed by a tsunami created by a massive 9.2 magnitude earthquake. The loss of life was catastrophic. In this single event, centuries of history were washed away. More than 1/3 of the Chenega people lost their lives that day. Through the devastation, the surviving Chenega villagers pushed on to establish and build a new village in the Prince William Sound.
Little did these villagers know that the devastation was not over. On March 27, 1989, 25 years to the day following the tsunami, tragedy struck again. The EXXON Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the ocean. The tides carried the slick black water to the beaches of the newly established Chenega Village, wiping out the Chenega People’s sole means of livelihood, commercial fishing. Damage to the natural environment and wildlife also crippled the subsistence life of the Chenega People.
Faced with loss once again, the Chenegans did not give up. This strong-willed group persevered to not only come out on top from this devastation but eventually grew into a village grander than ever before. After taking many great leaps of faith at considerable risk, the Chenega Corporation was formed, and today ranks among the top 5 most successful Alaskan-owned businesses in the state and continues to exemplify strength in its core values centered on faith, fortitude, and sustainability for the Chenega Shareholder family.