Community Name: Aklavik (barren-ground grizzly place)
Land Claim Area: Gwich'in (although the Inuvialuit have land in this area too)
Electoral District: Mackenzie-Delta
Member of the Legislative Assembly: Frederick Blake Jr.
Member of Parliament: Dennis Bevington
Senator: Nick G. Sibbeston
His Worship Mayor Arny Steinwand
Hamlet of Aklavik
P.O. Box 88
Aklavik, NT X0E 0A0
Phone: 867-978 2361
Location: Aklavik is situated on the west shore of the Peel Channel in the Mackenzie Delta at 68'13'N latitude and 135'00'W longitude. The community is 58 air km west of Inuvik and is 1143 air km northwest of Yellowknife.
Population: 645 (NWT Bureau of Statistics, 2010)
Languages: Gwich'in, Inuvialuktun, English
Access: The community is accessible by air from Inuvik year round and bulk supplies and food are barged in during the summer months. An ice road links Aklavik to Inuvik and other communities in the Beaufort-Delta in the winter.
History: Aklavik got its start early and quickly became known as an excellent trapping area and a key transportation centre. By 1920 it was the major community in the Delta with the Hudson Bay post established in 1912 and the Roman Catholic Mission in 1926. The community was also host to one of the great northern stories when in the winter of 1931-32 Albert Johnson (also known as the 'Mad Trapper of Rat River') was approached by an RCMP officer about trapline tampering. For reasons no one knows Johnson shot through the door and injured the officer. Upon the Mountie's return to Aklavik a manhunt for Johnson began and a gunfight forced Johnson out into the cold and on the run from the law. Forty-two days later and more gunfights and the deaths of a few officers, Johnson was shot and killed. This incident introduced the airplane and radio as tools to help track a person and updates of the manhunt were broadcast nation-wide.
However by the 1950s Aklavik was beginning to develop rapidly and erosion of the Peel Channel banks lead to melting permafrost and severe flooding. The severe flooding prompted the Federal Government to begin construction of East Three (Inuvik) and the movement of the community to the new location began. The population of the community (1600 in 1952) began to decline as people moved to Inuvik. Moose Kerr, then principal of the school, organized a committee to save Aklavik and had students write and sing protest songs. The end result was more people and building staying. Today the economy is still traditionally based including trapping, hunting and fishing. Secondary to these are local retail businesses, transportation, arts and crafts, tourism and mineral and gas exploration.