The Tatitlek Corporation is an Alaska Native village corporation established by Congress under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971. It is one of five village corporations within the geographic boundaries of Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaska Native regional corporation.
The Village of Tatitlek (population 88 in the 2010 census) is located in northeastern Prince William Sound, 30 miles south of Valdez, Alaska, on the eastern side of the Tatitlek Narrows. It is accessible only by sea and air. Like many Alutiiq villages, its location has changed several times over the ages.
Beginning in the 19th century, Tatitlek’s residents traded sea otter pelts with Russians in the neighboring village of Nuchek. By the 1890s, they were trading with Americans at the Alaska Commercial Company store in Tatitlek. Many new people came to the region in the early 1900s as prospectors and passed through the village on their way to mines on the Copper River. A copper mine that opened at nearby Ellamar in 1898 and a cannery at Ellamar (1940-1954) provided jobs for people from Tatitlek. Today, many Tatitlek families participate in commercial salmon and halibut fishing.
A subsistence lifestyle continues to be an important part of Tatitlek’s culture and economy. In 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground not far from the Village and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound. Although currents carried some of the oil away from the village, much of the contamination sank. This directly reduced the harvest of subsistence species in subsequent years by 89 percent.
The severe economic impact of this event on residents magnified the importance of the Tatitlek Corporation’s expansion of its successful ventures through diversification, with an eye toward long-term sustainability.
Shareholder dividends and job opportunities produced by the corporation’s various businesses have been and will continue to be increasingly important. Additionally, the Tatitlek Corporation and its subsidiaries provide educational opportunities to village residents and other shareholders through the corporation’s Copper Mountain Foundation.
“We work every day to bridge the traditions of our village with global economic opportunity enhancing the quality of life for our people.”