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Celebrating
50 Years
of Service

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Celebrating
50 Years
of Service

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Future Chiefs
Looking to our elders

Our elders pass on traditional ways of knowing. They teach us to observe the natural patterns around us, like those of The River. We remember the seasons of the past, work hard in the present, and plan for the future. We acknowledge CRNA is the result of the vision our elders held to and the efforts they put forth and we are thankful as we remember, work, and plan.

Koht’aene
Our People Today, Tomorrow,
and Forever.

CRNA History
1964

The Promise

August 15, 1964, marks the official day 1975 of the birth of The Promise. On this day, members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood met for a meeting where, unanimously and fearlessly, they committed to resolve the problems of the Native people of Copper River.

1968
Community Health Aide Program established

Community Health Aide Program established

IHS authorized the Alaska Native Health Board to provide the Alaska Area Native Health Service with input for its programs.

1972
Formally incorporated non-profit

Formally incorporated non-profit

Copper River Native Association was formally incorporated as a non-profit organization, one year following the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

1972
First Annual Meeting

First Annual Meeting

The motto posted on the wall behind Robert Marshall begins: Coming Together is a Beginning

1975
1976
Katherine McConkey

Katherine McConkey

Katherine McConkey begins her career of CRNA service as an administrative assistant in the late 70’s.

1978
CRNA’s First Logo

CRNA’s First Logo

The newly created CRNA logo represents the service area of the organization.

1981
Copper River Native Dancers

Copper River Native Dancers

Copper River Native Dancers practice traditional songs and dances through the Johnson O’Malley Program. A program designed to pass on traditional language, dance, song, and handicrafts, including the making of regalia.

1982
Traditional Chief Ben Neeley

Traditional Chief Ben Neeley

Traditional Chief Ben Neeley would interpret English to Ahtna for Elders during Annual Meeting in the early years of the organization. As an advocate and leader he held many positions. Seen here, Ben Neeley with Senator Lisa Murkowski in 2008.

1982
Showcasing tribal members’ talents

Showcasing tribal members’ talents

Photo includes from left to right: Martha Jackson, Emma Bell, Elizabeth Pete sing at the 10th Annual Meeting. Early Annual Meeting celebrations often showcased tribal members’ talents.

1983
CRNA Wildland Fire Crew is Established

CRNA Wildland Fire Crew is Established

The fire crew was the first fire crew established in Alaska outside government agency oversight. In future years the team upgraded to “Hot Shots,” a term that refers to highly skilled fire crews.

1986
1986 Annual Meeting

1986 Annual Meeting

The Villages Are CRNA

1987
Tuition Assistance Program

Tuition Assistance Program

Employees benefit from training and scholarship programs, increasing organizational ability. Pictured, Anna Bell-Hand graduated from AVTEC through CRNA’s Tuition Assistance Program. Elizabeth Pete also graduated (Not Pictured).

1987
Charlene Nollner

Charlene Nollner

“I remember the prevention technicians program… Trips, dancing, basketball, one time we even climbed up the hill and drew the horizon… and I remember feeling safe for that amount of time.” Charlene Nollner -Future Board President

1987
Swimming Safety Program

Swimming Safety Program

The Swimming Safety Program was a hallmarkof the Copper River Region in the late 80’s through the early 90’s. More than 75 children per summer participated in learning to swim and conduct water rescues that involved above ground pools.

1995
Subsistence fishing rights

Subsistence fishing rights

Katie John vs the United States of America Katie John wins subsistence fishing rights after three decades of litigation in defense of the Ahtna people.

1997

Alaska Native Medical Center Opens

The opening of ANMC allows Native Alaskan Healthcare to reach national standards. Hospital construction was recorded as $107 billion.

1997
Safety in the 90’s

Safety in the 90’s

Teaching First Aid and Outdoor Safety.

1997
Computers at CRNA

Computers at CRNA

CRNA Learning Computers in the 90’s.

2002

Dental Health Therapy

ANTHC initiates the Dental Health Aide Therapist Program in Rural Alaska.

2003
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Program

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Program

By 2003, 97 clients had completed the addiction recovery program at the Hudson Recovery Camp.

2003

Self Governance

CRNA moves to self governance in the 90’s after successfully negotiating IHS and BIA compacts.

2005

Behavioral Health Expands

Behavioral Health Aide training begins (ANTHC).

2013
Robert Marshall Building

Robert Marshall Building

Constructed in Copperville The Newly Constructed Robert Marshall Building allows for service expansion.

2017

CRNA Logo Re-Branded

CRNA undergoes re-branding. The new logo represents elements of the Copper River Valley and Denali, so as to include the Cantwell service area.

2017

Childcare Established Onsite

Child Development Employee. Childcare becomes available to all CRNA employees, increasing employee capacity.

2018

Telehealth established at CRNA

Behavioral Health is the first to utilize telehealth technology. Telehealth services would surge just two years later as the COVID-19 pandemic suspends face to face appointments.

2020

Pandemic Halts Regular Services

CRNA Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic by equipping villages with over 400 safety and sanitation kits, building testing and vaccination teams, and implementing safety measures.

2020

Incident Command System Implemented

CRNA transitions to Incident Command System, suspending regular services for the first time due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

2020
COVID-19 Building Constructed

COVID-19 Building Constructed

A separate testing facility is constructed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021
First ambulance at CRNA

First ambulance at CRNA

CRNA, in partnership with Ahtna Inc. purchases their first ambulance. The ambulance is not used to respond to 911 calls at this time.