Communities

Here are the 2018 Rural Communities! (Updated 012/28/18)

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Akiak
(ack’ ee ack):

  • In 1880, the village of “Ackiagmute” had a population of 175.
  • The name Akiak means “the other side,” since this place was a crossing to the Yukon River basin during the winter for area Eskimos.
  • The Akiak Post Office was established in 1916. A U.S. Public Health Service hospital was built in the 1920s.
    • The city was incorporated in 1970.
  • Akiak is a Yup’ik Eskimo village with a reliance on subsistence and fishing activities.
    • There is a Federally Recognized Tribe with the name of the Akiak Native Community.
  • Akiak is located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River, 42 air miles northeast of Bethel, on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
  • Akiak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Alakanuk (ah lack’ uh nuck)

  • Alakanuk is a Yup’ik word meaning “wrong way,” aptly applied to a village on this maze of watercourses.
  • The village was first reported by G.R. Putnam of the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey in 1899. It was originally settled by a Yup’ik shaman named Anguksuar and his family.
  • A Catholic mission school was built near the village. A post office was established in 1946.
    • It incorporated as a second-class city in 1969.
  •  Alakanuk is a Yup’ik Eskimo village active in commercial fishing and subsistence.
    • There is a Federally Regonized Tribe named the Village of Alakanuk.
  • Alakanuk is located at the east entrance of Alakanuk Pass, the major southern channel of the Yukon River, 15 miles from the Bering Sea.
    • It is part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
    • It is the longest village on the lower Yukon.
  • The area encompasses 35 sq. miles of land and 6 sq. miles of water.
  • Alakanuk falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Heavy winds are frequent during the fall and winter. The Yukon River is used as an ice road during freeze-up, from November through May.

Aniak (an’ ee ack)

  • Aniak is a Yup’ik word meaning “the place where it comes out,” which refers to the mouth of the Aniak River. This river played a key role in the placer gold rush of 1900-01.
  • In 1914, Tom L. Johnson homesteaded the site and opened a store and post office.
    • The Yup’ik village of Aniak had been abandoned long before this time.
    • Eskimos Willie Pete and Sam Simeon brought their families from Ohagamuit to Aniak, which reestablished the Native community.
    • A Russian-era trader named Semyeon Lukin is credited with the discovery of gold near Aniak in 1832. A territorial school opened in 1936. Construction of an airfield began in 1939, followed by the erection of the White Alice radar-relay station in 1956, which closed in 1978.
  • The city was incorporated in 1972.
  • Aniak’s population is primarily Yup’ik Eskimos and Tanaina Athabascans.
  • Subsistence foods contribute largely to villagers’ diets.
    • Many families travel to fish camps each summer.
    • There is a Federally Recognized tribe by the name of the Village of Aniak.
  • Aniak is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of Aniak Slough.
  • Aniak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. The Kuskokwim River is ice-free from mid-June through October.

Bethel

  • Bethel was first established by Yup’ik Eskimos, who called the village “Mumtrekhlogamute,” meaning “Smokehouse People,” named for the nearby fish smokehouse.
    • There were 41 people in Bethel during the 1880 U.S. Census. At that time, it was an Alaska Commercial Company Trading Post. The community was moved to its present location due to erosion at the prior site.
  • A post office was opened in 1905. Before long, Bethel was serving as a trading, transportation, and distribution center for the region, which attracted Natives from surrounding villages. The city was incorporated in 1957.
    • Over time, federal and state agencies established regional offices in Bethel.
  • The region is fortunate in that rapid development did not occur before the importance of protecting Native culture was realized.
  • The traditional Yup’ik Eskimo practices and language remain predominant in the area. Subsistence activities and commercial fishing are major contributors to residents’ livelihoods.
  • Orutsararmuit Native Village is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Bethel is located at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River, 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea.
  • Bethel falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Chevak

  • Eskimos have inhabited the region for thousands of years. The current location is also known as New Chevak, because residents inhabited another village called Chevak before 1950.
    • “Old” Chevak, on the north bank of the Keoklevik River, was abandoned because of flooding from high storm tides.
  • The name Chevak refers to “a connecting slough,” on which “Old” Chevak was situated. The new site was first reported by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1948.
    • A post office was established in 1951.
    • The city government was incorporated in 1967.
  • A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community — the Chevak Native Village.
  • Chevak is a Cup’ik Eskimo village. Commercial fishing and subsistence activities are an important part of the local culture.
    • The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village.
  • Chevak is located on the north bank of the Niglikfak River, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Chevak has a maritime climate. Its location near the Bering Sea renders the area subject to heavy winds and rain. Temperatures range from -25 to 79 °F. Snowfall averages 60 inches per year. Freeze-up occurs at the end of October. Break-up occurs in June.

Chignik Bay

  • A village called “Kalwak” was originally located here; it was destroyed during the Russian fur boom in the late 1700s.
  • Chignik, meaning “big wind,” was established in the late 1800s as a fishing village and cannery. A four-masted sailing ship called the “Star of Alaska” transported workers and supplies between Chignik and San Francisco.
    • Chinese crews from San Francisco traveled to Chignik in early spring to make tin cans for the cannery.
    • Japanese workers followed in mid-June to begin processing.
  • A post office was established in 1901. Coal mining occurred from 1899 to 1915. Chignik became an incorporated city in 1983.
    • Today, two of the historical canneries are still in operation.
  • The community is presently a mixture of non-Natives and Alutiiq.
    •  Subsistence on fish and caribou is important to residents’ livelihoods.
  • Chignik Bay Tribal Council is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • The City of Chignik is located on Anchorage Bay on the south shore of the Alaska Peninsula. It lies 450 miles southwest of Anchorage and 260 miles southwest of Kodiak.
  • Chignik falls within the southwest maritime climate zone, characterized by persistently overcast skies, high winds, and frequent cyclonic storms.

Chuathbaluk

  • Chuathbaluk was the site of an Ingalik Indian summer fish camp in the mid-1800s.
    • The village has been known as Chukbak, St. Sergius Mission, Kuskokwim Russian Mission, and Little Russian Mission.
  • The village was often confused with Russian Mission on the Yukon, so, in the 1960s, the name was changed to Chuathbaluk, which is derived from the Yup’ik word “Curapalek,” meaning “the hills where the big blueberries grow.”
  • The Russian Orthodox Church finished the St. Sergius Mission in 1894, and residents of Kukuktuk from 20 miles downriver moved to the mission.
  • Tragically, much of the village was lost in an influenza epidemic in 1900.
    • By 1929, the site was deserted, although Russian Orthodox members continued to hold services at the mission.
  • In 1954, the Sam Phillips family from Crow Village resettled the mission and were joined later by individuals from Aniak and Crooked Creek. The church was rebuilt in the late 1950s, and a state school opened in the 1960s.
    • The city was incorporated in 1975.
  • Chuathbaluk residents are Yup’ik Eskimos and Tanaina Athabascans.
    • Subsistence is a crucial source of food.
  • Native Village of Chuathbaluk is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • Chuathbaluk is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 310 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Chuathbaluk falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Heavy winds can cause flight delays in the fall. The Kuskokwim River is ice-free from mid-June through October.

Crooked Creek

  • It was first reported in 1844 by the Russian explorer Zagoskin, who recorded the name of the creek as “Kvikchagpak” (“great bend” in Yup’ik) and as “Khottylno” (“sharp turn” in Ingalik).
    • He noted that the site was used as a summer fish camp for the nearby villagers of Kwigiumpainukamuit.
  • In 1909, a permanent settlement was established as a way station for the Flat and Iditarod gold mining camps.
    • The USGS reported it in 1910 as “Portage Village,” because it was at the south end of a portage route up Crooked Creek to the placer mines.
  • In 1914, Denis Parent founded a trading post upriver from the creek mouth, in what would become the “upper village” of Crooked Creek.
    • A post office was opened in 1927, and a school was built in 1928.
  • The “lower village” was settled by Eskimos and Ingalik Indians.
    • The upper and lower portions of the village remain today.
  • Gold production continued through the late 1980s, when Western Gold Mining and Exploration went out of business.
  • Crooked Creek is a mixed Yup’ik Eskimo and Ingalik Athabascan village with a lifestyle reliant on subsistence activities
  • The Village of Crooked Creek is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Crooked Creek is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River at its junction with Crooked Creek. It lies 275 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Crooked Creek falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. High winds often cause flight delays in the fall and winter. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.

Glennallen

  • The name was derived from Maj. Edwin Glenn and Lt. Henry Allen, both leaders in the early American explorations of the Copper River region.
    • It is one of the few communities in the region that was not built on the site of a Native village.
  • The area has historically been occupied by the Ahtna, although Glennallen is currently a non-Native community.
  • The community of Glennallen lies along the Glenn Highway at its junction with the Richardson Highway, 189 road miles east of Anchorage. It is located just outside the western boundary of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
  • Glennallen falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by a semi-arid atmosphere, long, cold winters, and mild summers.

Kokhanok

  • This fishing village was first listed in the U.S. Census in 1890 by A.B. Schanz.
    • The community was relocated to higher ground a few years ago when the rising level of Iliamna Lake threatened several community buildings.
  • The village has a mixed Native population, primarily Alutiiq and Yup’ik.
  • Subsistence activities are the focal point of the culture and lifestyle.
  • There is a Federally Recognized Tribe named Kokhanok Village.
  • Kokhanok is located on the south shore of Iliamna Lake, 22 miles south of Iliamna and 88 miles northeast of King Salmon.
  • Kokhanok falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Wind storms and ice fog are common during winter.

Koliganek

  • It is an Eskimo village first listed in the 1880 Census as “Kalignak.” The name is local, recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1930.
    • Since that time, the village has moved four miles downstream from the original site.
  • Koliganek is a Yup’ik Eskimo village with Russian Orthodox practices.
    • Subsistence activities are an important part of the lifestyle.
  • New Koliganek Village Council is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • Koliganek is located on the left bank of the Nushagak River and lies 65 miles northeast of Dillingham.
  • Koliganek falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Kongiganak

  • The area has been occupied historically by Yup’ik Eskimos.
    • The village was permanently settled in the late 1960s by former residents of Kwigillingok, who were seeking higher ground to escape periodic flooding.
  • Kongiganak is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle and culture.
  • Native Village of Kongiganak is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • Kongiganak is located on the west shore of Kuskokwim Bay, west of the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It lies 70 miles southwest of Bethel and 451 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Kongiganak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Kotlik

  • The community grew during the mid-1960s when a BIA school was constructed at Kotlik, and residents of the nearby villages of Channiliut, Hamilton, Bill Moore’s Slough, and Pastolaik relocated.
    • Due to its location with easy access by large riverboats and barges, Kotlik became one of the larger ports and commercial centers of the lower Yukon River.
  • Many residents are descendants of Russian traders that settled in the area surrounding Saint Michael after 1867.
    • The city was incorporated in 1970.
  • It is a Yup’ik Eskimo village practicing a fishing, trapping, and subsistence lifestyle. Residents of Hamilton, a nearby summer fish camp, also live in Kotlik.
  • The Village of Kotlik is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Kotlik is located on the east bank of the Kotlik Slough, 35 miles northeast of Emmonak in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It lies 165 air miles northwest of Bethel and 460 miles from Anchorage.
  • Kotlik falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. High winds and poor visibility are common during fall and winter. Norton Sound and the Yukon are ice-free from mid-June through October.

Kwigillingok

  • The area has long been occupied by the Yup’ik Eskimos.
    • The first record of the village was in 1927 on an Alaska map, when it was noted as “Quillingok.” A Moravian church was established around 1920.
  • Kwigillingok is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village, practicing a commercial fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • Native Village of Kwigillingok is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Kwigillingok is on the western shore of Kuskokwim Bay near the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It lies 77 miles southwest of Bethel and 388 miles west of Anchorage. The village of Kongiganak is nearby.
  • Kwigillingok falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers

Lower Kalskag

  • The site was originally used as a fish camp for families from Kalskag, two miles to the northeast. In 1930, people began to establish year-round homes.
  • The Russian Orthodox residents of Upper Kalskag, a predominantly Roman Catholic village, moved to Lower Kalskag in the 1930s because of religious differences.
    • The Russian Orthodox Chapel of St. Seraphim was built in 1940.
    • A school was built in 1959, followed by a post office in 1962, a sawmill in 1965, and a power plant in 1969.
    • A new church was built in the late 1970s.
  • The City of Lower Kalskag was incorporated in 1969.
  • Lower Kalskag is a Yup’ik Eskimo village of Russian Orthodox practitioners who relocated from Upper Kalskag in the 1930s.
    • Subsistence activities provide food sources.
  • Village of Lower Kalskag is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Lower Kalskag is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 2 miles downriver from Upper Kalskag. It lies 26 miles west of Aniak, 89 miles northeast of Bethel, and 350 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Lower Kalskag falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter warm summers.

Marshall

  • An expedition came upon an Eskimo village called “Uglovaia” at this site in 1880.
  • Gold was discovered on nearby Wilson Creek in 1913.
    • “Fortuna Ledge” became a placer mining camp, named after the first child born at the camp, Fortuna Hunter.
  • Its location on a channel of the Yukon River was convenient for riverboat landings.
    • A post office was established in 1915, and the population grew to over 1,000.
  • Later, the village was named for Thomas Riley Marshall, Vice President of the United States under Woodrow Wilson from 1913-21.
    • The community became known as “Marshall’s Landing.”
  • When the village incorporated as a second-class city in 1970, it was named Fortuna Ledge but was commonly referred to as Marshall.
    • The name was officially changed to Marshall in 1984.
  • Marshall is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village.
  • Subsistence and fishing-related activities support most residents.
    • Members of the Village of Ohogamiut also live in Marshall.
  • Native Village of Marshall is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • Marshall is located on the north bank of Polte Slough, north of Arbor Island, on the east bank of the Yukon River in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It lies on the northeastern boundary of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Marshall falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Heavy winds in the fall and winter often limit air accessibility. The Lower Yukon is ice-free from mid-June through October.

McGrath

  • McGrath was a seasonal Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan village that was used as a meeting and trading place for Big River, Nikolai, Telida, and Lake Minchumina residents.
  • The Old Town McGrath site was originally located across the river.
    • In 1904, Abraham Appel established a trading post at the old site.
    • In 1906, gold was discovered in the Innoko District and at Ganes Creek in 1907.
  • Since McGrath is the northernmost point on the Kuskokwim River accessible by large riverboats, it became a regional supply center.
  • By 1907, a town was established and named for Peter McGrath. In 1909, the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store.
    • The Iditarod Trail also contributed to McGrath’s role as a supply center.
    • From 1911 to 1920, hundreds of people walked and mushed over the trail on their way to the Ophir gold districts.
    • Mining sharply declined after 1925.
  • After a major flood in 1933, some residents decided to move to the south bank of the river. Changes in the course of the river eventually left the old site on a slough, useless as a river stop.
  • In 1937, the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store at the current location.
  • In 1940, an airstrip was cleared, the FAA built a communications complex, and a school was opened.
    • McGrath became an important refueling stop during World War II as part of the Lend-Lease Program between the U.S. and Russia.
  • In 1964, a new high school was built, attracting boarding students from nearby villages.
    • The city was incorporated in 1975.
    • The federally recognized Tribe, McGrath Native Village was established in 1993.
  • Slightly more than half of the population are Athabascans and Eskimos.
  • As a regional center, McGrath offers a variety of employment opportunities, but subsistence remains an important part of the local culture.
  • McGrath is located 221 miles northwest of Anchorage and 269 miles southwest of Fairbanks in Interior Alaska. It is adjacent to the Kuskokwim River, directly south of its confluence with the Takotna River.
  • McGrath falls within the continental climate zone, characterized by extreme temperature differences. The continental climate zone encompasses most of the central part of the state and experiences extremely cold winters and warm summers. The Kuskokwim River is generally ice-free from June through October.

Napakiak

  • Yup’ik Eskimos have lived in this region since 1000 AD.
    • The village was first reported in 1878 by E.W. Nelson, although at the time it was downriver, at the mouth of the Johnson River.
  • In 1884, Moravian explorers mentioned Napakiak as being close to Napaskiak, which suggests that the new village site may have been occupied by that time.
    • By 1910, the village had a population of 166.
  • In 1926, the Moravian Church had a lay worker in the village who began constructing a chapel; funds were raised for construction by the Ohio Moravian Association.
    • It took three years to complete the work, and in August 1929 people came from many villages in the area to attend the dedication ceremony.
  • In 1939 a BIA school began operating, and in 1946 a Native-owned village cooperative store was opened.
  • A post office was established in 1951. A National Guard Armory was built in 1960. The city was incorporated in 1970.
  • The first airstrip was completed in 1973, enabling year-round access.
  • The city’s primary priority in 2009 was to relocate all public facilities and homes to a bluff across Johnson’s Slough.
    • The sandbar on which the city was built is severely eroding.
  • This city is predominantly Yup’ik Eskimos who maintain a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • Native Village of Napakiak is a Federally recognized Tribe
  • Napakiak is on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 15 miles southwest of Bethel. It is located on an island between the Kuskokwim River and Johnson’s Slough. It lies 407 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Napakiak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. The Kuskokwim River is typically ice-free from June through October.

Napaskiak

  • The area has historically been occupied by Yup’ik Eskimos.
  • Napaskiak was first reported by the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey in 1867.
    • The 1880 U.S. Census reported a population of 196. By 1890, the population had dropped to 97 and was as low as 67 in 1939.
    • The city was incorporated in 1971.
  • Napaskiak is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village dependent upon fishing and subsistence activities.
  • Native Village of Napaskiak is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Napaskiak is located on the east bank of the Kuskokwim River, along the Napaskiak Slough, 7 miles southeast of Bethel.
  • Napaskiak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Napaskiak is strongly influenced by storms and patterns in the Bering Sea and also by inland continental weather.

Nikolai

  • Nikolai is an Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan village and has been relocated at least twice since the 1880s.
    • One of the former sites was reported in 1899 to have a population of six males.
    • The present site was established around 1918.
  • Nikolai was the site of a trading post and roadhouse during the gold rush.
    • It was situated on the Rainy Pass Trail, which connected the Ophir gold mining district to Cook Inlet.
    • It became a winter trail station along the Nenana-McGrath Trail, which was used until 1926.
  • By 1927, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church had been constructed.
  • In 1948, a private school was established, and in 1949 a post office opened.
    • Local residents cleared an airstrip in 1963, which heralded year-round accessibility to the community.
  • The city was incorporated in 1970.
  • Nikolai is an Athabascan community, and residents are active in subsistence food-gathering.
  • The Village of Nikolai is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Nikolai is located in Interior Alaska on the south fork of the Kuskokwim River, 46 air miles east of McGrath.
  • Nikolai falls within the continental climate zone, characterized by extreme temperature differences. The continental climate zone encompasses most of the central part of the state and experiences extremely cold winters and warm summers. The river is generally ice-free from June through October.

Nulato

  • The Koyukon Athabascans traditionally had spring, summer, fall, and winter camps and moved as the wild game migrated.
    • There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk and Nowitna Rivers.
  • Nulato was the trading site between Athabascans and Inupiat Eskimos from the Kobuk area.
    • Western contact increased rapidly after the 1830s.
    • The Russian explorer Malakov established a trading post at Nulato in 1839.
    • A smallpox epidemic, the first of several major epidemics, struck the region in 1839.
  • Disputes over local trade may have been partly responsible for the Nulato Massacre of 1851, in which Koyukuk River Natives decimated a large portion of the Nulato Native population.
  • The Western Union Telegraph Company explored the area around 1867. Nulato was a center of missionary activity, and many area Natives moved to the village after a Roman Catholic mission and school, Our Lady of Snows Mission, was completed in 1887.
  • Epidemics took heavy tolls on Native lives after the onset of the Yukon and Koyukuk gold rush in 1884.
    • For instance, food shortages and a measles epidemic combined to kill as much as one-third of the Nulato population during 1900.
  • In 1900, steamboat traffic peaked, with 46 boats in operation.
    • Through the turn of the century, two steamers a day would stop at Nulato to purchase firewood.
  • A post office was opened in 1897.
  • Gold seekers left the Yukon after 1906. Lead mining began in the Galena area in 1919.
  • Nulato incorporated as a city in 1963.
    • A clinic, water supply, new school, and telephone and television services were developed through the 1970s.
    • In 1981, large-scale housing development began at a new townsite on the hills north of the city, about 2 miles from the old townsite.
  • Nulato residents are predominantly Koyukon Athabascans, with a trapping and subsistence lifestyle.
    • Virtually all of the residents are Catholic.
  • Nulato Village is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • Nulato is located on the west bank of the Yukon River, 35 miles west of Galena and 310 air miles west of Fairbanks. It lies in the Nulato Hills, across the river from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Nulato falls within the continental climate zone, characterized by extreme temperature differences. The continental climate zone encompasses most of the central part of the state and experiences extremely cold winters and warm summers. The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average daily maximum during July is in the lower 70s °F; the average daily minimum during January is well below 0 °F. Several consecutive days of -40 °F is common each winter. The highest temperature ever recorded is 90 °F; the lowest is -55 °F. Average annual precipitation is 16 inches, with 74 inches of snowfall. The Yukon River is ice-free from mid-May through mid-October

Old Harbor

  • The area around Old Harbor is thought to have been inhabited for nearly 2,000 years.
  • The area was visited by the Russian Grigori Shelikov and his “Three Saints” flagship in 1784.
    • Three Saints Bay became the first Russian colony in Alaska.
  • In 1788, a tsunami destroyed the settlement.
    • Two more earthquakes struck before 1792.
  • In 1793, the town relocated from the northeast coast to “Saint Paul’s,” now known as Kodiak.
  • A settlement was reestablished at Three Saints Harbor in 1884.
    • The town was recorded as “Staruigavan,” meaning “old harbor” in Russian.
  • The present-day Natives are Alutiiq (Russian-Aleuts).
  • The Old Harbor post office was opened in 1931.
  • In 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake and resulting tsunami destroyed the community; only two homes and the church remained standing.
    • The community was rebuilt in the same location.
    • The city government was incorporated in 1966.
  • Old Harbor practices its traditional Alutiiq culture and subsistence lifestyle.
    • Fishing provides income to the community.
    • Residents of Kaguyak, a summer fish camp, also live in Old Harbor.
  • There is a Federally Recognized Tribe by the name of “Village of Old Harbor”
  • Old Harbor is located on the southeast coast of Kodiak Island, 70 miles southwest of the City of Kodiak and 322 miles southwest of Anchorage.
  • Old Harbor falls within the gulf coast maritime climate zone, characterized by a rainy atmosphere, long, cold winters, and mild summers. This zone lacks prolonged periods of freezing weather at low altitudes and is characterized by cloudiness and frequent fog. The Kodiak Archipelago is warmed by the Japanese current. The climate is similar to Southeast Alaska, with slightly less precipitation. The combination of heavy precipitation and low temperatures at high altitudes in the coastal mountains of southern Alaska accounts for the numerous mountain glaciers.

Pitka’s Point

  • Eskimos who first settled there called it “Nigiklik,” a Yup’ik word meaning “to the north.”
  • It was first reported in 1898 by the U.S. Geological Survey.
    • The village was later renamed for a trader who opened a general store that was a branch of Northern Commercial Company
  • Pitkas Point is a Yup’ik Eskimo village dependent upon a subsistence lifestyle.
  • There is a Federally Recognized Tribe by the name of Native Village of Pitka’s Point
  • Pitkas Point is located near the junction of the Yukon and Andreafsky Rivers, 5 miles northwest of St. Mary’s on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It lies 3 miles by road from the St. Mary’s airport.
  • Pitkas Point falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Saint Mary’s

  • In 1899, Andreafsky was established as a supply depot and winter headquarters for the Northern Commercial Company’s riverboat fleet.
    • The village took its name from the Andrea family which settled on the river and built a Russian Orthodox church.
  • In 1903, Jesuit missionaries set up a mission 90 miles downriver at “Akulurak” to educate and care for the children orphaned by the flu epidemic of 1900-01.
    • Akulurak means “in between place,” aptly describing the village, which was on an island in a slough connecting two arms of the Yukon River.
    • The mission school flourished, and by 1915 there were 70 full-time students.
  • Over the years, the slough surrounding Akulurak silted in severely. In 1948, the villagers decided to move to higher ground.
  • Materials from an abandoned hotel built during the gold rush were used to construct the new mission and several village homes at the present site.
    • In 1949, an unused 15′ by 30′ building and other building materials from Galena Air Force Station were barged to Saint Mary’s by Father Spills, a Jesuit priest.
    • These materials, along with a tractor borrowed from Holy Cross, were used to construct a school.
  • During the 1950s, a number of Yup’ik families moved into the Andreafsky area, only a short distance from the mission.
    • Dormitories and a large house for the Jesuits were built during the 1960s. In 1967, the area adjacent to the mission incorporated as the City of St. Mary’s, although Andreafsky chose to remain independent.
    • In 1980, the residents of Andreafsky voted for annexation into the city. In 1987, the Catholic church closed the mission school.
  • St. Mary’s is a Yup’ik Eskimo community that maintains a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • Algaaciq Native Village is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • St. Mary’s is located on the north bank of the Andreafsky River, 5 miles from its confluence with the Yukon River. It lies 450 air miles west-northwest of Anchorage. The City of St. Mary’s encompasses the Yup’ik villages of St. Mary’s and Andreafsky.
  • Saint Mary’s falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. The Yukon is ice-free from June through October.

Togiak

  • In 1880 “Old Togiak” or “Togiagamute” was located across the bay and had a population of 276.
  • Heavy winter snowfalls made wood-gathering difficult at Old Togiak, so gradually people settled at a new site on the opposite shore, where the task was easier.
  • Many residents of the Yukon-Kuskokwim region migrated south to the Togiak area after the devastating influenza epidemic in 1918-19. A school was established in an old church in 1950. A school building and a National Guard armory were constructed in 1959.
  • Togiak was flooded in 1964, and many fish racks and stores of gas, fuel oil, and stove oil were destroyed.
    • Three or four households left Togiak after the flood and developed the village of Twin Hills upriver.
    • The city government was incorporated in 1969.
  • Togiak is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • The Traditional Village of Togiak is a Federally Recognized Tribe.
  • Togiak is located at the head of Togiak Bay, 67 miles west of Dillingham. It lies in Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and is the gateway to Walrus Island Game Sanctuary.
  • Togiak falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. Fog and high winds are prevalent during the winter. The bay is ice-free from June through mid-November.

Tuntutuliak

  • The village’s Yup’ik name is Tuntutuliaq, meaning “place of many reindeer.”
  • It was originally located four miles to the east and called Qinaq, as noted in 1879 by Edward Nelson, who noted 175 residents at that time.
  • In 1908, a Moravian missionary visited the village and reported 130 people living there.
  • In 1909 a BIA school was built, and the first teacher was well-liked in the community.
    • Due to lack of confidence in the subsequent teachers, the school was closed in 1917, and the building moved to the village of Eek.
    • It is thought that some Qinaq villagers may have moved to Eek, so their children could attend school.
  • In 1923 the first Moravian chapel was built with lumber and other support from Eek.
  • In the late 1920s, a trading post and store was opened by John Johnson.
  • The community moved to its present site on higher ground and was renamed Tuntutuliak in 1945. The BIA built a school in 1957. A post office opened in 1960.
  • It is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • Salmon and seal are important food sources.
    • Children are taught in Yup’ik until the third grade and then classes are taught in English.
  • There is a Federally Recognized Tribe by the name of the Native Village of Tuntutuliak
  • Tuntutuliak is on the Qinaq River, approximately 3 miles from its confluence with the Kuskokwim River and about 40 miles from the Bering Sea coast. It lies 40 miles southwest of Bethel and 440 miles west of Anchorage.
  • Tuntutuliak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

Tununak

  • In 1878 Nelson Island was named after Edward Nelson, a Smithsonian naturalist who noted 6 people, including 1 non-Native trader, living in Tununak.
  • In 1889 the Jesuits opened a small chapel and school.
    • They found the villagers difficult to convert due to the migratory nature of their traditional culture and because the shamans were still quite powerful.
    • The mission closed in 1892.
  • In 1925 a government school was built, and a Northern Commercial Company store was opened in 1929.
  • From 1934 to 1962, a missionary named Father Deshout lived on Nelson Island.
    • His long-standing relationship and work with the people in the area had a great influence.
  • The 1950s brought great changes to the islanders’ lifestyle, through their involvement with the Territorial Guard and work in fish canneries, high schools, and healthcare treatment for tuberculosis.
    • For many, this was their first exposure outside the community.
  • By the 1970s, snowmachines were replacing dog-sled teams, and the last qasgiq (men’s community houses) was abandoned.
  • The city was incorporated in 1975, but it was dissolved on Feb. 28, 1997, in favor of traditional council governance.
  • Tununak is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village, with an active fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
  • Native Village of Tununak is a Federally recognized Tribe.
  • Tununak is located in a small bay on the northeast coast of Nelson Island, 115 miles northwest of Bethel and 519 miles northwest of Anchorage.
  • Tununak falls within the western transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers.

White Mountain 

  • The Inupiat fish camp of “Nutchirviq” was located here.
    • The bountiful resources of both the Fish and Niukluk Rivers supported the area’s Native populations.
  • White Mountain grew after the influx of prospectors during the gold rush of 1900.
  • The first structure was a warehouse built by miner Charles Lane to store supplies for his claim in the Council District.
  • It was the site of a government-subsidized orphanage, which became an industrial school in 1926. A post office was opened in 1932.
  • The city government was incorporated in 1969.
  • White Mountain is a Kawerak Eskimo village, with historical influences from the gold rush.
    • Subsistence activities are prevalent.
  • Native Village of White Mountain is a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • White Mountain is located on the west bank of the Fish River, near the head of Golovin Lagoon, on the Seward Peninsula. It is 63 miles east of Nome.
  • White Mountain falls within the transitional climate zone, characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. The Fish River freezes up in November; break-up occurs in mid to late May.

 

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