300 Villages: Tanacross

This week, we’re heading to Tanacross, a village just off the Alaska Highway, southeast of Fairbanks. Diane Titus is a teacher aide in Tanacross.

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“I’m Diane Titus. I work with the school, Tanacross School.

My dad told me, he said the first Tanacross it was supposed to be like a post, you know, like a trader’s post. They called it Tanana Crossing. It’s two miles off the Alaska Highway. There are a lot of trees… a nice view of the Alaska Range.

Tanana River
Tanacross is next to the Tanana River. Photo by Travis S., Flickr Creative Commons.

Now we’re in the new village. We’re not in that old village where we first used to be. The old village is right across the river. We moved across to the new village in ’74. When we used to live in the old village we had to get in the boat and then get into the car to get anywhere. So it was a little harder.

In the summer the village usually has various jobs — more jobs than we do in the winter. Berry picking, cultural camps, fishing, a lot of subsistence. People usually go out in family groups, and go together… to do this together, the food. Usually children are involved in that. And at the same time they’re being taught to… taught how to preserve.

Unemployment is high. Pretty much most of them are doing subsistence because they don’t have a job in the winter. That’s why its so important to put the food away, you know.

It’s just a little peaceful village where people try to work together when we need to.”

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