As residents of one of the Region’s older Yukon River communities, the people of Pitkas Point remain closely connected to their culture. Old traditions and customs are still prevalent here. Harvesting food is an important part of everyday life. Snowmachines and dog sleds are used for transportation in the winter.
According to the Department of Labor statistics, 93 people live in Pitkas Point, a community that was first settled by Yup’ik Eskimos. The first people of Pitkas Point called the community Nigiklik , meaning “To the North.” This small, isolated community was first recorded in 1898 by the U.S. Geological Survey. It was later named Pitkas Point in honor of a trader named Pitka, who opened a general store in the area for the Northern Commercial Company. A federally recognized tribe is located in the community, the Native Village of Pitka’s Point.
The village sits on the Yukon River at the mouth of the Andreafsky River. The closest village is Saint Mary’s, about five miles northwest and the two are connected by road. Due to Pitkas Point’s relatively small size, compared to Saint Mary’s, supplies for Pitkas Point are delivered to Saint Mary’s. Employment opportunities are extremely limited, especially year-round positions The people of Pitkas Point depend on subsistence resources. Hunting and fishing put food on the table; people feed their families salmon and other fish, moose and waterfowl. A recent census showed that 31 of the 37 residential homes are occupied. Most people haul potable water from the water treatment plant at the washeteria because only 25 percent of the homes have running water in the kitchen. A few homes and facilities are connected to the community septic tank, with others using a honey bucket system. Electrical power is provided by the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative diesel generator in Saint Mary’s. Students attend school in Saint Mary’s and emergency services are provided by a village health aide and a sub-regional clinic located in Saint Mary’s.