We are descendants of Kodiak’ s Sugpiaq/ Alutiiq Peoples. Our original village called Kashukugniut, was located near Humpy Cove, on the eastern side of Alitak Bay. Kashukugniut was originally a sea otter hunting settlement that was occupied by the Russians in the early 19th century. The name Akhiok was first reported in the 1880 census and in 1881 our ancestors relocated to our present home at the south end of Kodiak Island at Alitak Bay. With the decline of the sea otter industry, fishing became our community’s primary source of employment. Following the 1964 earthquake and tsunami, families from the tsunami-destroyed village of Kaguyak moved to Akhiok.
Akhiok is considered a traditional village and we are proud of our heritage and traditions of respect for the land and marine resources. Subsistence is an important part of our community’s culture and well-being. Children are taught from an early age how to hunt, fish, dig for clams, pick berries, and gather medicinal plants. Halibut, flounder, cod, salmon, and trout along with clams and crab are important traditional subsistence foods. Marine mammals of subsistence importance include seals, sea otters, and sea lions. The Kodiak brown bear and the Sitka black-tail deer are both popular for sport hunting and are essential sources of subsistence food for local residents.
Today subsistence foods, some commercial fishing, and our local city and tribal governments provide for our local residents. We participate in the Kodiak Archipelago Rural Regional Leadership Forum and are working with KALI to re-establish soil farming as a way to provide local food security and increased nutrition for our village families. We are also working with KALI to establish year-round hydroponic production.