About Us
Who We Are

Our Mission

“The mission of the Katirvik Cultural Center (KCC) is to preserve, celebrate, share and educate about the unique Indigenous knowledge and cultures of the Bering Strait Region of Alaska. KCC strives to inspire cooperative dialogue and improve cultural awareness in its communities and visitors through programs in the arts, sciences and the humanities.”

What's In A Name

The people of the Bering Strait Region were invited to participate in naming of our new cultural center. Kawerak conducted a region-wide vote via mail and Katirvik was the clear winner. Katirvik means “Gathering Place” in Inupiaq and sounds very similar to St. Lawrence Island and Central Yup’ik words meaning the same. The most defining feature of the cultural center is the gathering space/classroom which is built in a circular shape and is designed to emulate the look and feel of the traditional gathering place, the qagzri or qasgeq.

Land and Water Acknowledgement

The Bering Strait Region is the historic and contemporary home to 20 Tribes. As we continue to work toward strengthening collaborative relationships, it is important that we acknowledge the homelands and waters of the Inupiaq, Central Yup’ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik Peoples.

These lands and waters are alive. Over the course of thousands of years, the land and waters have continued to provide traditional foods and support Indigenous ways of life. They have influenced Indigenous languages, spirituality and relationships, both with our environment and with each other, across communities.

We acknowledge the homelands and waters of the Indigenous Peoples of the Bering Strait Region, and honor Inupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Central Yup’ik ancestral and contemporary stewardship.

Our Goals

KCC Aims To:

Validate and strengthen cultural identity in youth and community
Be a place for community ceremony and celebration.
Identify and provide stewardship of cultural resources through protection, community collaboration in curation and display.
Provide an opportunity to share authentic cultural experiences with visitors.
Who We Are

Kawerak Origin

Over 30 years ago, the Katirvik Cultural Center began as a vision shared among Elders of the region to celebrate, educate and share the rich culture and heritage of the Bering Strait. Through dedication to the vision of the Elders, the Katirvik Cultural Center celebrated its grand opening in October 2016. The Kawerak Elders Advisory Committee continues to be a guiding voice for the Katirvik and provides advice on important issues such as repatriation. The Katirvik is tribally owned and operated by the 20 tribes of the Bering Strait region, and administered by Kawerak, Inc.

Kawerak was originally formed as the Bering Straits Native Association (BSNA) in 1967. The Association was created to advocate for the passage of a Native Land Claims bill. After the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, BSNA organized Kawerak, Inc. as the regional tribal non-profit.

Today, Kawerak contracts with the state and federal government to provide services to residents of the Bering Strait Region, 75% of whom are Alaska Native or Native American. With programs ranging from education to transportation, and natural resource management to economic development, Kawerak seeks to improve the Region’s social, economic, educational, cultural and political conditions. Kawerak is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the president (or designee) of the IRA or Traditional Councils, two Elder representatives and a representative from the regional health care provider. Learn more about Kawerak at www.kawerak.org