Akutan began in 1878 as a fur storage and trading port for the Western Fur & Trading Company. The company's agent established a commercial cod fishing and processing business that quickly attracted nearby Unangan to the community.
After the Japanese attacked Unalaska in June 1942, the U.S. government evacuated Akutan residents to the Ketchikan area. The village was re-established in 1944.
The Native Village of Akutan is a federally-recognized tribe located in the community. Akutan is a fishing community, and is the site of a traditional Unangan village.
Although Akutan is a busy fishing port, it is one of the most traditional Aleut communities in the [Aleutians East] Borough. The village proper is small, there are no roads, just boardwalks, and an easy walk gets you anywhere in town. Many traditions are still carried forward from earlier days.
Akutan is located on Akutan Island in the eastern Aleutians, one of the Krenitzin Islands of the Fox Island group. It is 35 miles east of Unalaska, and 766 air miles southwest of Anchorage.
Commercial fish processing dominates Akutan's cash-based economy, and many locals are seasonally employed. Trident Seafoods operates a large processing plant west of the City for cod, crab, pollock and fish meal. The population of Akutan can double during processing months. Subsistence foods include seal, salmon, herring, halibut, clams, wild cattle, and game birds.
This study is being done as part of a larger project which focuses on local traditional knowledge (LTK) in six Bering Sea communities: Akutan, St. Paul, Togiak, Nelson Island, Emmonak, and Savoonga. Right: The village of Akutan. (Kevin Eischens)
Some of the main research goals are: