Allakaket is on the south bank of the Koyukuk River, southwest of its junction with the Alatna River, approximately 190 miles (310 km) northwest of Fairbanks and 57 miles (92 km) upriver from Hughes. The population today is mainly Athabaskan Natives.
Official Tribal Name: Allakaket Village
Address: P.O. Box 50 Allakaket, AK 99720
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:
Alternate Names / Spellings:
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Alaskan Ethnic Group: Indian
Alaskan Native Culture: Allakaket is mainly an Athabascan community.
Alaska Geographical Region:
Alaska Borough / Census Area:
Alaska Native Regional Corporation: Doyon, Limited
Alaska Village Corporation: K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited
Alaska Native Association: Tanana Chiefs Conference
Agency: Allakaket is located in the Fairbanks Recording District.
Native groups have lived in the area, including Koyukon Athabascans and Kobuk, Selawik, and Nunamiut Eskimos from the north and northwest. The Koyukon lived in several camps throughout the year, moving as the seasons changed, following the wild game and fish. The various bands established joint settlements after 1851. The old site of Alatna was a traditional trading center for Athabascans and Eskimos.
The first mission on the Koyukuk River, St. John’s-in-the-Wilderness Episcopal Mission, was established in 1906. A post office was opened in 1925. In 1938, the name of the community was changed to Allakaket (the old name for the mission), and the name Alatna was assumed by the small Eskimo community across the river.
The first public school was established in 1957.
A flood caused by ice jamming inundated 85% of the community in the Spring of 1964. In 1975, the community incorporated as a City, including both settlements of Allakaket and Alatna.
A clinic and airport were built in 1978. A new school and community roads were built in 1979.
In September 1994, flood waters again destroyed and swept away nearly all of the community’s buildings, homes, and food caches for the winter. Residents rebuilt near the old City site, but some new homes and facilities are now located outside of the incorporated City boundaries. New Allakaket and Alatna are located outside of the City limits.
As of 2012, the population was 106. The population of the community consists of 95.9% Alaska Native or part Native and 4.12% White. Allakaket is mainly an Athabascan community; Kobuk Eskimos live across the river in Alatna.
Traditional potlatches, dances and foot races attract visitors from area villages. Subsistence activities provide the majority of food sources.
Two separate village councils exist for Allakaket and Alatna.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11 km2), of which, 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (17.05%) is water.
Sale, importation, and possession of alcohol are banned in the village.
Climate and Topography:
The area experiences a cold, continental climate with extreme temperature differences. The average high temperature during July is 70 °F (21 °C). The average low temperature during January is well below zero and extended periods of −40 °F (−40 °C) are common.
The highest temperature ever recorded was 94 °F (34 °C) and the lowest was −75 °F (−59 °C).
Average precipitation is 13 inches (330 mm) and annual snowfall is 72 inches (1,800 mm). The Koyukuk River is ice-free from June through October.
Transportation Services and Facilities:
Most public facilities were severely damaged in the 1994 Koyukuk River flood. Major components have been replaced—a new washeteria, well and treatment plant, 100,000 US gallons (380,000 l) water storage tank, sewage lagoon, and force main have recently been completed.
The lagoon is connected to the washeteria and school. Residents carry treated water and haul honeybuckets or use pit privies; no households have plumbing.
Infrastructure improvements to provide a flush/haul system are continuing. A new landfill and access road are also under construction.
Electricity is provided by Alaska Power Company.
Allakaket has no road link, but winter trails connect it with Hughes, Bettles and Tanana. River transportation is important in summer, but there is no commercial barge access due to shallow water.
Local Governmental Services:
Allakaket is classified as an isolated village, and found in EMS Region 1C in the Interior Region.
Allakaket Health Clinic is a Primary Health Care facility. It is the only local medical care. Emergency services provided by a health aide have river and air access.
Other Services and Utilities:
The state-owned Allakaket Airport has a 4,000 by 100 ft (1,219 by 30 m) gravel runway and is accessible year-round. A $6 million airport improvement began construction in 1997.
Arctic Circle Air Service, Frontier Flying Service, Servant Air, Warbelow’s Air Ventures, and Wright Air Service offer passenger flight service.
There is one school located in the community, attended by 52 students.
Employment / Economy:
Subsistence activities provide the majority of food sources. Most cash jobs are part-time or seasonal.
The primary year-round employers are the school, City, Tribe and village corporation store. Construction and BLM emergency firefighting provide summer jobs. A few earn income from trapping or selling traditional Native handicrafts. However, subsistence is the focus of the local economy. Salmon, whitefish, moose, bear, small game and berries provide most food sources. Caribou are taken when available.
Income / Poverty Level:
The median income for a household in the city was $16,563, and the median income for a family was $33,125. Males had a median income of $13,750 versus $35,417 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,912. There were 11.8% of families and 12.9% of the population living below the poverty line, including 12.5% of under eighteens and none of those over 64.
A lot of villages are oddly spread-out as a result of many different factors, and Allakaket is no exception. A large part of it for many riverside villages is that, when the residents had to settle down (traditionally nomadic lives were mostly squashed by new things like land ownership being divvied out and children being required to attend schools), they did so right near the river. Well, rivers flood every spring, sometimes more than others, so being close to the river became problematic.
Since the airstrips and some housing and such were funded by the government, the government in some cases decided they wouldn’t fund repairs or rebuilds or such unless the airstrip and housing were moved to higher ground. So, in places like Allakaket, the new airstrip is on higher ground, and a bunch of folks live in houses up on the hill, known as uptown.
Another bunch of folks still live in the older part of town, where the school is, which is known as downtown. Uptown and downtown are a couple miles apart, and some things are situated almost directly between them, such as the Tribal Council.
As of the census of 2000, there were 97 people, 41 households, and 18 families residing in the city. The population density was 27.0 people per square mile (10.4/km²). There were 59 housing units at an average density of 16.4 per square mile (6.3/km²).
The average household size in 2002 was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.68. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 155.2 males.
Clans / Societies:
Legends / Oral Stories:
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In the News:
Shadows on the Koyukuk: An Alaskan Native’s Life Along the River – In his dramatic autobiography, Alaskan elder Sidney Huntington, half-white, half-Athabascan, recounts his adventures, tragedies, and ultimate success.