Fred Elvsaas was born in Seldovia, Alaska in 1933 to Agnes Ponchene Elvsaas and Herman Elvsaas. His father was originally from Norway and his mother was from Kodiak. Fred grew up in Seldovia, with the family moving to Hoen's Spit in the summertime where his mother had a large garden. Fred worked as a commercial fisherman. He played an active role in the establishment of the Seldovia Native Association (SNA) after the 1972 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and served as the organization's president for twenty-five years. He also has served as president of the Seldovia Native Tribe. Fred is well known for his knowledge of local history and his skill as a storyteller.