For many, the end of March passes with little notice. Spring begins, March Madness ends, and we, as a nation, collectively start to panic as Tax Day looms ever closer.
At Chenega Corporation, however, we recognize a much more significant event.
Few outside of Alaska take time to reflect upon the Good Friday earthquake of 1964, the most powerful recorded earthquake in North American history and the second most powerful in the world. The 9.2-magnitude quake devastated south-central Alaska, causing major geographical and structural damage and 139 deaths throughout the region.
The 1964 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that destroyed the island village of Chenega. Twenty-six natives, more than one-third of the Chenega population, lost their lives, and the entire village and centuries of its rich history were washed away.
While the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 helped to establish Chenega Corporation, the remaining Chenega people did not begin to rebuild until 1984, when they established the village of Chenega Bay in Prince William Sound. Thanks to their initiative and enduring spirit, Chenega Corporation and the village of Chenega Bay have since flourished.
We in the Chenega family of companies understand the importance of remembering Chenega’s tragic history and the hardships endured to create the legacy it celebrates today.
And so, at the end of March, we remember the fate of the village of Chenega, which suffered unthinkable destruction. We honor those touched by tragedy, who lost their livelihoods, their cultural history and, in some cases, their lives. We recognize the courage and perseverance of the Chenega people, who turned their loss into a billion-dollar corporation with representatives around the globe.
On March 27, we observe Chenega Day to show our respect for Chenega Village and its residents—their past and their future.
Read the stories below to learn more about the 1964 Alaska earthquake:
Or watch these videos: