“We received incredible support from the community. We had these two ladies who came to program so consistently they had better attendance than the kids. The local librarian came out to read to the kids, almost every single day.” – Program Staff
Aniak is located along the south bank of the Kuskokwim River at the head of the Aniak Slough, 59 miles southeast of Russian Mission in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and 92 air miles northeast of Bethel. Falling within the western transitional climate zone, Aniak is characterized by tundra interspersed with boreal forests, and having weather patterns of long, cold winters and shorter, warm summers. The current population is 485 (2018).
Traditionally Anyaraq (Central Yup’ik), meaning “the place where it comes out,” Aniak refers to the mouth of the Aniak River that flows into the Kuskokwim. Long after the original Yup’ik village of Aniak was abandoned, Tom L. Johnson homesteaded the site in 1914, opening a store and a post office. Afterwards, Yup’ik Natives Willie Pete and Sam Simeon brought their families from Ohagamuit to Aniak, which reestablished the Native community. Today it is primarily a Yup’ik and Tanana Athabascan village with a reliance on subsistence and fishing activities.