Holy Cross Village is located in Interior Alaska on the west bank of Ghost Creek Slough off the Yukon River. It is 40 miles northwest of Aniak and 420 miles southwest of Fairbanks. It is home to Ingalik Indians and Yupik Eskimos.
Official Tribal Name: Holy Cross Village
Address: P.O. Box 89, Holy Cross, AK 99602
Official Website: www.holycrosstribe.org
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Anilukhtakpak
Alternate Names / Spellings: Anilukhtakpak, Askhomute, Koserefsky
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Alaskan Ethnic Group: Ingalik Indians
Alaskan Native Culture: Deg Hit’an Athabascan
Alaska Geographical Region:
Alaska Borough / Census Area:
Alaska Native Regional Corporation: Doyon, Limited
Alaska Native Village Corporation: Deloycheet, Inc
Alaska Native Association: Tanana Chiefs Conference
Tribal Council: Holy Cross Tribal Council
Agency: Located in an unorganized borough.
Holy Cross Village is located in Interior Alaska on the west bank of Ghost Creek Slough off the Yukon River. It is 40 miles northwest of Aniak and 420 miles southwest of Fairbanks.
Holy Cross Village first had contact with Europeans in the early 1840s, when Russian explorers led by Lt. Zagoskin traveled the Yukon River. They reported on “Anilukhtakpak,” which had 170 people. In 1880, the village was reported as “Askhomute” with 30 residents.
A post office was opened in 1899 under the name “Koserefsky.”
In 1912, the name of the town was changed to “Holy Cross” after the mission. In the 1930s and 40s, sternwheelers brought the mail and supplies two or three times a year.
The course of the river changed during the 1930s, and, by the mid-40s, the slough on which the village is now located was formed. The mission church and many additional buildings were torn down after the boarding school ceased operations in 1956.
The city government was incorporated as a second class city in 1968.
As of 2012, the population of Holy Cross Village was 181.
Climate and Topography:
The climate of Holy Cross is continental. Temperature extremes range from -62 and 93 °F.
Annual snowfall averages 79 inches, with 19 inches of total precipitation per year. The Yukon river is ice-free from June through October.
Transportation Services and Facilities:
Local Governmental Services:
Holy Cross provides the community with well water, sewer, electric power, and solid waste collection. The water is piped from a deep well and is treated. A backup well, new pump house and water treatment facility have recently been constructed.
The majority of the households and the school are connected to the water and sewer system; however, some residents still haul water and use outhouses.
Development of a comprehensive sanitation plan is underway, as well as the use of a utility cooperative to more efficiently manage the water and sewer services. The village has bulk fuel storage facilities.
Holy Cross Tribal Council provides services and support for housing, social services, education, child welfare and other igap for enrolled members.
Medical services are provided by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, with one local clinic in Holy Cross.
Other Services and Utilities:
A mix of Native non-profit organizations provides other services such as housing, social services and other programs on behalf of all the villages in the area.
A Catholic mission and school were established in the 1880s by Father Aloysius Robaut, who came to Alaska across the Chilkoot Trail. Ingalik Indians migrated to Holy Cross to be near the mission and school. This boarding school closed in 1956.
Today, Little Sraqay Center serves Headstart age children and Holy Cross School which is a part of the Iditarod Area School District enrolls Kindergarten to 12th grade students.
Employment / Economy:
Subsistence hunting and fishing-related activities and gardening are still important to residents. The village has a seasonal economy with its peak during the summer fishing period. There are approximately 50 full-time jobs in the village, in addition to seasonal projects. A few residents hold commercial salmon fishing permits. Trapping is also an important source of income.
Income / Poverty Level:
Homes are primarily single-family dwellings of either frame or log construction, with oil and wood burning stoves as the major heat sources. There are also new HUD sites available to expand housing for future village development.
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Legends / Oral Stories:
People of Note:
In the News: