Aklavik, Northwest Territories Canada

Discover Aklavik, Northwest Territories: A Hamlet Steeped in History and Culture

Aklavik, Northwest Territories, is a hamlet with a rich history and a vibrant culture. Located in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, Aklavik is a community that has persevered through adversity and continues to thrive. The hamlet's name, derived from the Inuvialuktun language, means "barrenground grizzly place."

A Glimpse into the History of Aklavik, Northwest Territories

Aklavik's history dates back to the early 1900s when the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post in 1912. The Roman Catholic Church followed suit, setting up a mission in 1926. The community, located on the Peel Channel, became a transportation hub in the Mackenzie and was known for its excellent trapping area.

In October 1925, Aklavik became part of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System (NWT&Y), a pioneer system that played a crucial role in providing communications in Canada's North. The system was operated by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RC Sigs) and provided communication services for the general population and any aircraft that overflew the site.

Aklavik's history also includes the infamous "Mad Trapper of Rat River," Albert Johnson, who moved into the area in 1931. His actions led to a 42-day manhunt, which is considered to have been the catalyst for introducing the airplane and communications radio as tools to help track a person.

In December 1946, radio station "CHAK" went on the air at Aklavik. The station was a voluntary operation serving the Mackenzie River delta. In 1949, the Royal Canadian Navy established a signals intelligence station in Aklavik, which remained operational until March 1961.

Despite the challenges of repeated flooding and river bank erosion, the community persevered and continued to grow, reaching a population of over 1,600 people by the 1950s.

Aklavik, Northwest Territories Today

Today, Aklavik is a thriving community with a school catering to approximately 150 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Aurora College also provides adult education at the Community Learning Centre.

The hamlet boasts three general stores, a three-person RCMP detachment, a health centre with four nurses, a Canada Post outlet, and two taxi companies. For visitors, the Aklavik Lodge and the Aklavik Inn offer comfortable accommodations.

The community is accessible only by air, via the Aklavik/Freddie Carmichael Airport, and by winter ice road directly from Inuvik across the streams of the Mackenzie Delta.

Land Claims in Aklavik, Northwest Territories

Aklavik is unique in that it is included within two different land claims areas, being part of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Gwich'in Settlement Region. The Inuvialuit and the Gwich'in of Aklavik are represented by the Aklavik Community Corporation and the Ehdiitat Gwich'in Council, respectively.

Indigenous Peoples of Aklavik, Northwest Territories

The Inuvialuit of Aklavik, primarily Uummarmiut, are descendants of the Nunamiut, Inupiat people who migrated from Alaska in the early 20th century. The Gwich'in, a First Nations people, are an Arctic-dwelling Dene people who inhabit parts of Alaska, and Yukon and the NWT in Canada.

Climate of Aklavik, Northwest Territories

Aklavik experiences a subarctic climate, typical of Canada's Arctic, with mild summers and cold winters lasting most of the year.

Demographics of Aklavik, Northwest Territories

As of the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Aklavik had a population of 536 living in 216 of its 274 total private dwellings. The majority of the population, 93.2%, is Indigenous, with a large number of both First Nations, 33.9%, and Inuit, 53.4%, along with a small number of Métis, 4.2%, and non-Aboriginal, 8.5%.

Discover the rich history and vibrant culture of Aklavik, Northwest Territories, a community that embodies resilience and perseverance.