Akiachak is a traditional Yup’ik community located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River. Residents practice a subsistence-based lifestyle and supplement their incomes with seasonal jobs that include commercial fishing, Bureau of Land Management fire fighting and positions with canneries in Bristol Bay. Akiachak residents are extremely independent – the city was the first in Alaska to dissolve its city government in favor of Native village governance. The decision took effect on January 31, 1990.
The Yupiit School District is headquartered in Akiachak, and most of the year-round work in the community stems from the educational system or other public services. There is a fish processing facility and freezer being developed in the area, which will be of benefit to the over 70 residents who hold commercial fishing licenses. Poor fishing returns in recent years have significantly affected the area’s economy.
The site on which Akiachak rests was an area used seasonally by Yup’ik Eskimos for subsistence, and was originally called “Akiakchagamiut” in the 1890s. At that time the village had a population of 43, but had grown to almost 600 as of the 2000 census.
Local travel is conducted on snowmachines during the winter and with ATVs and boats during the summer. A winter trail exists to Bethel, and small commercial planes offer service to other parts of the state.