Akiak Native Community is located in the Bethel Census Area 42 air miles northeast of Bethel, on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Akiak is a Yup’ik Eskimo village with a reliance on subsistence and fishing activities. Poor fish catches since 1997 have significantly affected the community.
Official Tribal Name: Akiak Native Community
Address: Alakanuk Native Corp., P.O. Box 148, Alakanuk, AK 99554
Phone: (907) 238-3117
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
US Culture Region: Subarctic
Alaskan Ethnic Group: Eskimo
Alaskan Native Culture: Yup’ik Eskimo
Alaska Geographical Region: Yup’ik / Cup’ik Region
Alaska Borough / Census Area:
Alaska Native Regional Corporation: Calista Corporation
Alaska Native Association: Alakanuk Native Corporation
Village Corporation: Kokarmuit Corporation, PO Box 147, Akiak 99552
Agency: Bethel Census Area, Yukon/Kuskokwim Region
Related Tribes: Akiachak
Language: Central Yup’ik
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Ackiagmute (plural) meaning the people on the other side (of the river) or Akiaq (singular form), meaning “the other side,” since this place is a crossing to the Yukon River basin during the winter.
Alternate Names / Spellings: Ackiagmute, Akiaq
Akiak is located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River, 42 air miles (68 km) northeast of Bethel, in the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta.
The Akiak post office was established in 1916. A Public Health Service hospital was built in the 1920s. The city was incorporated in 1970.
The sale or importation of alcohol is banned in the village.
In 1880, the village of Akiak had a population of 175.
As of the census of 2000, there were 309 people, 69 households, and 54 families residing in the city. The population density was 157.2 people per square mile (60.6/km²). There were 76 housing units at an average density of 38.7 per square mile (14.9/km²).
The racial makeup of the city was 4.85% White, 92.88% Alaskan Native, and 2.27% from two or more races. 0.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The average household size was 4.48 and the average family size was 5.24. For every 100 females there were 122.3 males.
As of 2010, the population was 559.
Climate and Topography:
Precipitation averages 16 inches (410 mm) in this area, with snowfall of 50 inches (1,300 mm). Summer temperatures range from 42 °F (6 °C) to 62 °F (17 °C). Winter temperatures range from −2 °F (−19 °C) to 19 °F (−7 °C).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.1 km), of which 2.1 square miles (5.4 km) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km) is water.
Transportation Services and Facilities:
There are limited unpaved roads in the immediate area surrounding Akiak, but residents can only use cars and trucks about three months of the year. The usual mode of transportation for most of the year is snowmobiles, ATVs, boats, and dogsled.
The airport has a gravel runway in good condition, measuring 3,196 feet (974 m) long by 75 feet (23 m) wide, at an elevation of 30 feet (9.1 m). The strip provides chartered or private air access year-round.
Arctic Circle Air Service, Grant Aviation and Hageland Aviation offer freight and passenger flight service. Snow machines, ATVs and skiffs are used extensively for local transportation to nearby villages. There are no docking facilities.
Local Governmental Services:
A new well, water treatment plant and storage tank were recently completed. The school and clinic are connected directly to the water plant. Individual wells, septic systems and plumbing were installed in 14 HUD homes during 1997.
Sewage disposal is currently by septic tanks, honey buckets or privies, but major improvements are underway. A piped water and gravity sewer system is under construction, with household plumbing planned.
Sixty-seven homes need water and sewer service. Most residents are dependent upon the washeteria for laundry and bathing. Electricity and septic pumping services are provided by the city of Akiak.
Local hospitals or health clinics include Edith Kawagley Memorial Clinic (907-765-7125). Edith Kawagley Memorial Clinic is a Primary Health Care facility.
Akiak is classified as an isolated village. It is found in EMS Region 7A in the Yukon/Kuskokwim Region. Emergency services have river and air access and are provided by a health aide.
Other Services and Utilities:
There is a community washateria and one general store in Akiak, but prices at the store are high. Most residents rely primarily on subsistence sources for the bulk of their needs, and fly into Bethel once or twice a year for a big shopping trip to stock up on other items they can’t produce locally, and then have them shipped to Akiak by plane or barge.
There is one school located in the community, Akiak Arlicaq High School, attended by 99 students.
Employment / Economy:
The majority of the year-round employment in Akiak is with the city, schools or other public services. Commercial fishing or BLM fire-fighting also provide seasonal income. Twenty-seven residents hold commercial fishing permits.
Subsistence activities and fishing are important to residents and are the major source of their food, especially salmon. Poor fish returns since 1997 have significantly affected the community.
The community is interested in developing a fish processing plant and tourism. The city is currently home to the world’s third largest museum of taxidermy.
Income / Poverty Level:
The median income for a household in the city was $26,250, and the median income for a family was $36,875. Males had a median income of $21,875 versus $11,667 for females.
The per capita income for the city was $8,326. About 25.0% of families and 33.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.3% of those under the age of eighteen and 6.7% of those sixty five or over.
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