Kenaitze Indian Tribe

Sabine Poux/KDLL

When warm and wet, birch bark can be folded into baskets — a container for berries or a cradle for babies. 

But when it’s not fresh off the birch tree, bark can be unyielding. And folding can be the hardest part, according to the dozen women making baskets Monday at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

The Kenaitze Indian Tribe is holding workshops for people who want to be able to recognize signs and intervene when someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Courtesy of Hannah Etengoff

To most Alaskans, it’s food. To some, a livelihood. To others, a sport. No matter how you slice it, or filet it, salmon is deeply important to Alaskans. And salmon lovers across the state, like Steve Schoonmaker, of Kasilof, are celebrating the species today.

“First of all, I’m waking up and I’m remembering what Alaska Salmon Day means," he said. "And how lucky we are in Alaska to have wild salmon.”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Fifty years ago, the federal government recognized the Kenaitze Indian Tribe as a sovereign nation. This anniversary year, the tribe is expanding.

It’s raising a new building on the corner of the Kenai Spur Highway and Forest Drive in Kenai to house its educational programming.

“The Kahtnuht’ana Duhdeldiht Campus," said Bernadine Atchison, chair of Kenaitze’s tribal council. "Which is called, 'The Learning Place.'"

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Providers with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe have opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to all Indian Health Service beneficiaries 16 and older.

As of Wednesday night, a small team of medical staff at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai had vaccinated 427 people, said Sheilah Kean, a registered nurse and primary care practice manager with the tribe.

Courtesy of Scott Moon

Eleven months out of 12, Elders and Youth Council members from the First Alaskans Institute meet over the phone. Their annual conference is a chance to finally gather in person, along with nearly 1,000 other Alaska Natives, to exchange stories and lessons between generations and tribes.

This year, councilmembers and attendees are conferencing from home, from Southeast to the North Slope. Kenaitze elder Sharon Isaak is attending from Soldotna, where she prerecorded a demonstration on crafting moose-ear booties, one of the myriad workshops taking place virtually between Sunday and Wednesday.


Kenaitze announce new school, Old Town projects

Apr 19, 2019
Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

The Kenaitze tribe announced plans for a multi-million dollar expansion of its facilities in Kenai Thursday.

 

 


Wellness court offers alternative to jail, rehab

Mar 21, 2019
Kenaitze Indian Tribe

 

It’s been almost two years since the Kenai’tize tribe’s Henu Community Wellness Court began taking cases. Now, a half dozen graduates have completed the program that’s designed to tackle substance abuse issues outside the criminal justice system.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

In a small room of a little building on the Kenaitze Indian Tribe campus in Old Town Kenai, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams heard a big message — comprehensive, integrated care is the way to treat those trapped in the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Adams was touring Alaska this week with a particular focus on learning how the opioid epidemic is affecting the state. He visited Kenai on Thursday specifically to tour the tribe’s Dena’ina Wellness Center and Henu’ Community Wellness Court.

“It would be incredibly presumptuous and, in my opinion, incredibly wrong of me to think that we can sit in Washington, D.C. and figure out what folks need in any part of the United States, and especially out in Alaska,” Adams said. “So it’s important to get out and find out what’s working well and what’s not working. And I’ve heard from many folks that the Wellness Center is an example of how to provide many services in an integrated way to individuals, and that’s why we came here.”


Last week’s Job and Career Fair presented by the Alaska Job Center saw hundreds of Central Peninsula residents attending, hoping to find that perfect new job. There were also a score of presenters, that ranged from military recruiters to healthcare and from carpentry to seafood processing.

Gloria Rhodes was one of the recruiters attending the all-day event at the Soldotna Sports Complex. She works for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, which has been on a steady growth curve in the past decade.

KPEDD

Bart Garber is the new executive director of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, overseeing many new programs and facilities in Kenai.

Fall 2017: Native language revitalization

Oct 3, 2017

Across the state and on the Kenai, Native languages are finding new life through new speakers.

Kenaitze Tribe director steps down

Jul 10, 2017

After 10 years as executive director of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Jaylene Peterson-Nyren has resigned, effective June 16. A statement issued by the tribe says current Operations Director Dee Dee Fowler will lead the Tribal Council in its search for a new ED. During her time with the tribe, Peterson-Nyren oversaw the opening of the Dena’ina Wellness Center, the Tyotkas Elder Center and the new Henu’ Community Wellness Court, which began taking cases earlier this year.