Community Member

Tebughna Foundation

Anchorage, Alaska

The Tebughna Foundation preserves and perpetuates the Tebughna Dena’ina traditions by funding cultural enhancements and educational opportunities to benefit Tyonek Native Corporation shareholders and the Native Village of Tyonek Tribal citizens. In a remote area south of Anchorage accessible only by boat or plane, villagers embrace a rich traditional culture of subsistence, song, dance, storytelling, and spirituality sustained by hunting, trapping, fishing, and whaling. In 1964, oil companies paid villagers $12 million to drill on the reservation, but the money stopped when no oil was found–a cycle repeated with lumber and coal. Today, villagers wrestle with few job opportunities and high energy costs. The Foundation’s work to transition citizens to solar is part of their vision: to honor their ancestors, elders, and traditions; commit a share of their lifelong activities toward the enrichment of their culture; and invest in their future and their children in order preserve their values.

Founded in 2007, the Tebughna Foundation’s twelve-person staff supports nearly 1,000 Native Village of Tyonek Tribal citizens and Tyonek Native Corporation shareholders. Many live outside of Tyonek. For over fifteen years, Foundation scholarships have funded post-secondary education and career development. The Foundation also provides Dena’Ina language classes and hosts cultural events. Tyonek’s location along the treacherous Tikhnatu (Cook Inlet) contributes to harsh winters that strain infrastructure and leave residents susceptible to the local power company, which charges three times the national average. Recently, the Foundation won a $250,000 Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize to support Tyonek’s solar transition. The impact has been profound. In a recent video, villager Ernest Baker Sr. stands near his newly converted home and says “We’re kind of forced under monopoly to use power right there, and everything goes by it. So, I took that power away from them and gave it to myself.”

For more information:

Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize Selects Climate Justice Changemakers – NREL, May 2022

Indigenous languages featured in school film festival – Peninsula Clarion, February 2023

With Powwow Traditions, Families Keep Alive Traditions Born in the Lower 48 – Anchorage Daily News, June 2016

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart L. Sinclair is a writer, editor and educator from Ventura, California. His essays, reportage and narrative nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, The Millions, The Morning News, The New Orleans Review, Creative Nonfiction’s “True Story” series and elsewhere.


Marie Francis, Solar Program Manager


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Climate Impacts

Earthquakes, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Wildfires

Environmental Justice Concerns

Air Pollution, Coal/Coke Plants and Emissions, Fracking/Oil and Gas Development/Pipelines, Lead Contamination


Community Organizing and Education, Renewable Energy

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations