The History 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 lies 8 miles southwest of Emmonak, approximately 162 air miles northwest of Bethel. It is the longest village on the lower Yukon - the development stretches over a 3 mile area along the Pass. Approximately 25 homes along the bank are being threatened by erosion. It lies at approximately 62 41' N Latitude, 164 37' W Longitude (Sec. 14, T030N, R082W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area encompasses 35 sq. miles of land and 6 sq. miles of water.

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. In 1948, the school was relocated to St. Mary's, and many families moved from the old school site to Alakanuk. It incorporated as a second-class city in 1969.


To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online


History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development