Yukon River basin during the winter. In 1880, around 175 people established the village of Ackiagmute or “the other side.” Located along the west bank of the Kuskokwim River, early residents enjoyed plentiful subsistence opportunities for fish, berries and wildlife. Akiak’s first post office was established in 1916 and four years later a public health service was created. The Akiak Native Community is a federally recognized tribe.
Today, Akiak is one of several communities in the Bethel Census Area. According to an Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development census from 2011, the population is around 370 people and is considered a secondclass city. The primary employers include the city, public services and school district. A little more than 100 students attend the school, according to the state of Alaska. Area Youth are taught the importance of subsistence and learn skills early in life. Summers are spent helping families harvest salmon and in many homes commercial fishing is a source of income. While the mighty Kuskokwim provides food and a means of transportation for the village, it also caused problems in recent months. Residents have battled erosion problems and in October 2012 the Akiak Native Community declared a state of disaster.
Like most rural communities, transportation is limited. Akiak hosts a state-owned airport that serves many charters and passenger planes. Getting to local villages is restricted to ATVs, snowmachines and skiffs.
With winter rolling in, Akiak’s residents can expect several months of cold temperatures and buckets of snow. Winter temperatures range from -2 to 19 °F and the community typically averages about 50 inches of snow. The summer months bring warmth, with temperatures ranging from 42 to 62 °F.