The Bering Straits Native Association (BSNA) was formed in 1967 as an association of the Native Villages in the Bering Straits Region. The Association was created to advocate for the passage of a Native Land Claims bill. During this time, BSNA received their first grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity within the Johnson Administration. After the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, BSNA organized Kawerak as the regional non-profit corporation (incorporated under State Law in 1973) to provide services throughout the Bering Straits Region.
Today, Kawerak contracts with the state and federal government to provide services to residents of the Bering Strait Region, 75% of whom are Eskimo, Aleut or American Indian, descent. Kawerak's organizational goal is to assist Alaska Native people and their governing bodies to take control of their future. With programs ranging from education to transportation, and natural resource management to economic development, Kawerak seeks to improve the Region's social, economic, educational, cultural and political conditions. Kawerak is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the president (or designee) of the IRA or traditional Councils, two elder representatives and a representative from the regional health care provider. Kawerak reorganized in 2006 and we now have four divisions.
To assist, promote and provide programs and services to improve the social, economic, educational, cultural and governmental self-sufficiency for the betterment of the Native people within the region; to preserve the traditional culture, languages and values.
To work together to achieve the highest quality of life in partnership with our tribal members and communities while living and celebrating our Native cultures.
The Board of Directors decided when our vision was accomplished we would have strong, healthy, proud, caring, unified, pro-active, self-sufficient Native people, leaders and communities who know where we are going and who will take necessary steps to achieve it.
We will live and transmit our language and culture to our children, with councils actively governing at the local level and cooperating at the regional level to make life better for our people.
This is what being a true Inupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik & Central Yup’ik means.
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