Community Member

Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council

Anchorage, Alaska

The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) is a coalition of 73 First Nations and Tribes working together to restore and protect the Yukon River watershed. The group was founded in 1997 by 56 chiefs and elders who gathered in Galena, AK to discuss concerns about increased cancers and other health problems in human communities and game species within the Yukon River watershed. Their long-term vision is to drink clean water directly once again from the river, as their ancestors did for thousands of years. Threats to the health of the watershed include climate change, industrial and military contamination, mining, and poor waste management. The YRITWC has been recognized for its effective work, which involves diverse communities working together beyond political boundaries to reach their goals. Current initiatives involve remediation of brownfields, development of sustainable fisheries management plans, and promotion of sustainable tourism in the region.

Map of the Yukon River Watershed

Based in Anchorage, the international Indigenous grassroots organization is a non-profit in the U.S. and Societal Status in Canada. Seventy-three Indigenous governments participate in the coalition through an Inter-Tribal Accord that gives each a seat on the board, coordinating actions that affect the region’s environmental and cultural integrity while respecting Tribal and First Nation sovereignty. Their work includes the Water Stewardship program that creates a network of trained citizen scientists using a combination of traditional and Indigenous knowledge and new environmental monitoring to collect data about the water and the land. The Drinking Water Improvement Project provides education, technical assistance, and water testing training to rural Alaskan communities. And, the Solid Waste Department focuses on extending the life of a community’s landfill through solid waste handling training, and recycling and transportation programs to remove waste from watershed communities. 

For more information:

United Nations water conference will hear Indigenous contributions from Yukon ambassadors – Yukon News, March 2023

Kawerak, Inc. and Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council are selected for $596,000 in EPA Brownfields redevelopment funding – U.S. EPA News, May 2021

Researchers partner with Native Alaskan, Yukon communities to study climate impacts on rivers, fish – CU Boulder Today, September 2017

Disagreement on management of Yukon River Chinook fishery – CBC, August 2017

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.


Theresa Clark, Alaska Executive Director


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Wildfires

Environmental Justice Concerns

Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Groundwater Contamination, Hazardous/Toxic Sites, Incinerator/Dumping/Landfill, Lead Contamination, Mining, PFAS/PFOS, Sewage/Sewage Treatment


Community Organizing and Education, Community Science, Fighting Industrial Contamination, Rights of Nature, Risk mapping and/or monitoring e.g. flooding/contaminants etc

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations