Location and Climate
Aniak is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of Aniak Slough, 59 miles southeast of Russian Mission in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It lies 92 air miles northeast of Bethel and 317 miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 61.578330 degrees North Latitude and -159.522220 degrees West Longitude. (Sec. 12, T017N, R057W, Seward Meridian.) Aniak is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 6.5 square miles of land and 2.3 square miles of water. Climate is maritime in the summer and continental in winter. Temperatures range between -55 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Average yearly precipitation is 19 inches and average yearly snowfall is 60 inches. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.)
History, Culture and Demographics
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. Willie Pete and Sam Simeon brought their families from Ohagamuit to Aniak, which reestablished the Native community. A Russian-era trader named Semen Lukin is credited with the discovery of gold near Aniak in 1932. 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. A federally recognized tribe is located in the community -the Aniak Traditional Council. According to the Census, the population of the community consists of 501 people, with 69.46 percent of the population Alaska Native, or part Native. Aniak’s population is primarily of Yup’ik Eskimo and Tanaina Athabascan descent. Subsistence foods contribute largely to villagers’ diets. Many families travel to fish camps each summer. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 203, and vacant housing units numbered 29. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 6. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 232 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 13.11 percent, although 41.71 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $41,875, per capita income was $16,550 and 14.04 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
The majority of homes (155) have plumbing and have individual wells. A central well was completed in 1988 by the village corporation; there are also wells at Auntie Mary Nicoli School and the Joe Parent Vocational Education Center. Only 21 households haul water. A central piped sewage system serves most residents, with the exception of the school, the clinic and the Napat subdivision across Aniak Slough. The system has four lift stations, and wastewater is treated in a lagoon. Some homes use individual septic tanks, but permafrost has caused drain field problems, so most of the un-served homes use pit privies. The city provides septic pumping services. Funds have been provided to replace failing drain field systems by expanding the piped sewer to serve the remainder of the City and the school. A washeteria is operated by the Village Council. Aniak Light and Power, a privately-owned company, provides electricity to the village. There are 2 schools located in the community, attended by 128 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Clara Morgan Sub-Regional Clinic (907-675-4556). The Clara Morgan Sub-Regional Clinic is a qualified Emergency Care Center and provides: primary health care, prevention services, dental care, behavioral health, pharmacy, radiology and optometry services. Specialized Care: KNA Community Counseling Center (Kuskokwim Native Assoc.) provides consumer and psychiatric services. Aniak is classified as an isolated town/Sub-Regional Center, it is found in EMS Region 7A in the Yukon Kuskokwim Region. Emergency services, provided by 911 telephone service, volunteers and a health aide, have limited river and air access. Auxiliary health care is provided by Aniak Volunteer Fire Department (907-675-4601).
Current Population: 494 (DOLWD Estimate Population)
Incorporation Type: 2nd class city
Borough Located in: Unorganized
Aniak Traditional Council
P.O. Box 349
Akiachak, AK 99551