(Anchorage, Alaska) – It is with great sadness that Chugach Alaska Corporation (Chugach) announces the passing of John Borodkin, Sr., Chugach’s last remaining original Board Director and decorated World War II (WWII) veteran. A Russian Orthodox graveside memorial service with military honors will be held on Thursday, January 21st.
By any measurement, Borodkin led a full life. From a decorated veteran to his role as a co-founder of Chugach, Borodkin embraced his duty as an American citizen and, on the home front, he worked tirelessly to ensure that the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was fair and just for the Chugach people and all Alaska Natives.
“John’s lifelong service to our country and our Alaska Native Community are a reminder to all of us to honor the legacy of those who made sacrifices to ensure future generations could enjoy those freedoms, privileges and rights,” said Sheri Buretta, Chugach’s Chairman of the Board and Interim President and CEO. “As we face today’s challenges, we must continue finding ways to work together constructively, as our Elders did during the passage of ANCSA.”
After serving with distinction in WWII, he became heavily involved in the ANCSA struggle and the effort that helped to shape the modern face and success of the Alaska Native community. After the passing of ANCSA and the founding of Chugach Natives, Inc. — which would eventually become known as Chugach Alaska Corporation — Borodkin served on Chugach’s Board of Directors for nearly a decade. In 1974, he was selected as Chugach’s first Vice President. He then went on to serve in leadership roles with Chugach Alaska Fisheries, Inc. and with Chugach’s first 8(a) subsidiary, Chugach Development Corporation.
He also played a part in founding North Pacific Rim (NPR), a non-profit that strived to advance the overall economic, social and cultural development of the people of the Chugach Region. Later, he helped to found Chugachmiut, which took over the NPR mission. He was also involved in the early stages of the Alaska Federation of Natives. In his home village, Borodkin served as President of the Tatitlek Village Council and in leadership roles within the Tatitlek Corporation.
Recently, Chugach Heritage Foundation, Chugach’s non-profit arm, named the Nuuciq Spirit Camp teaching facility the John Borodkin Schoolhouse. Built in 2008, nearly all of the children, and a good portion of the adults, who have visited the camp for the last 12 years have attended classes in the schoolhouse. In 2019, Borodkin was recognized as Elder of the Year at the Annual Meeting of Chugach Shareholders, and he will always hold the title of revered Elder in the Chugach community for the generations to come.
Chugach will long remember Borodkin and his lasting legacy. He embodied the best of the Chugach region, and his service and his long list of accomplishments have placed the Chugach people on a path toward permanent prosperity. We will always remember the man who inspired all of us, and who was always selfless in his devotion to the people he served.
Our condolences and deepest sympathies go out to the Borodkin family. We mourn with you and share in the pain of your loss. May his memory be eternal.