Kenaitze Indian Tribeï»¿
Date: December 15, 2015
Since long before its formal designation by the federal government as an Indian Tribe in 1971, the Kenaitze Indian Tribe (KIT) has been at the heart of the Kenai-area community, bringing economic and cultural benefits not only to Tribal members, but also to the entire Kenai community.
The 1,4000-plus current members of the Kenaitze (pronounced, Keh-NITE-zee) Tribe are Dena’ina people, a branch of Athabascan Native Americans. Many centuries ago, their ancestors traveled from western Alaska to the shores of the Cook Inlet. Recognizing its abundance, the first Alaskans to this area named it Yaghanen – the good land. They settled along the shores and rivers of this beautiful and rich place which is now named after them: the Kenai Peninsula.
Today, KIT conducts a wide range of services and educational programs which benefit youth and elders, that reflect our traditional values.
In 2011, Kenaitze Indian Tribe received an Indian Health Service (IHS) Joint Venture award to operate a health care facility in Old-Town Kenai. The new Dena’ina Wellness Center will offer medical, dental, behavioral health, chemical dependency, physical therapy, pharmacy and traditional healing services all in one location. The facility will serve more than 5,000 Tribal members, Alaska Native and American Indian people, and other residents of the central Kenai Peninsula. Updates on the Dena’ina Wellness Center construction can be found at www.kenaitze.org.
Many of the KIT programs are open to the public.