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Aniak is located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of the Aniak Slough. Aniak comes from the  Yup’ik word Anyaraq meaning, “the place where its comes out” referring to the mouth of the Aniak River.

profile shot from plane

Photo  source ; narrative below provided by 5th/6th grade teacher in Aniak, Ms. Julia Fischer

In 1914 Tom L. Johnson homesteaded and opened a store and post office. The Yup’ik village of Aniak had been practically abandoned long before this time. Willie Pete and Sam Simeon brought their families from Ohagamuit to Aniak, which reestablished the Native community. In 1932 a Russian-era trader discovered gold near Aniak. In 1936 the first school opened in Aniak. Next, came the airfield and the creation of a White Alice radar-relay station in 1956 (Aniak. (n.d.). With the airfield in place, Aniak became the transportation hub for villages in the area including Chuathbaluk, Kalskag, Crooked Creek, Holy Cross and others.

The city of Aniak was incorporated in 1972. Today about 69.4% of the population of the community is Alaska Native, or part Native (Aniak. (n.d.).  Aniak’s population consists primarily of Yup’ik Eskimo and Athabascan descent. In 1956 during the Cold War, construction of a White Alice Relay Station began bringing money, jobs, and communication capability to the area (Aniak. (n.d.). The impact to the community from the relay station was immediate as the first telephone capable of long distance phone calls was installed at the Aniak Lodge in 1957 and Aniak's population more than doubled from 142 in 1950 to 308 in 1960 (Aniak. (n.d.).              

The village of Aniak is 92 air miles from Bethel and 317 miles west of Anchorage. The area around Aniak comprises 6.5 square miles of land and 2.3 square miles of water. 

There are two schools located in Aniak, Auntie Mary Nicoli Elementary School and Aniak Junior Senior High School. There are also numerous other business’ such as Aniak Light & Power, Alaska Commercial Company, Hound House Restaurant and several other small businesses. Aniak also has seasonal guiding businesses that run during the summer months. Aniak has a paved runway, which allows larger cargo planes access to the village. The village is essentially a loop around the runway (loop is shown in red in the map below). Residents primarily live in the two different areas labeled below as 1. and 2. The area labeled 1. comprises of ‘new’ housing north of the main road and ‘old’ housing south of the main road. As a whole this area is referred to as ‘housing’ because the majority of residents in Aniak live in this area. The area labeled 2. is another area where most of the residents reside and it has almost all of the business. The Elementary school is located in area 2. and the High School is across the runway near area 2.  Aniak does not have any teacher housing provided by the District. Teachers and other staff must find their own housing. There are some apartments in Aniak and several houses that are rented. 

For those of you who don’t live in Aniak, or are new residents - this video is a good introduction!

Photos below provided by Kate Schaberg.

Photos of Aniak


For a list of current contacts in Aniak, contact the Tribal office at (907) 675-4349. 

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