300 Villages: Kiana

This week we head to Kiana, a village of about 350 people on the Kobuk River about 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Bertha Barr works for the village’s food distribution program.

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“Bertha Barr, I live in Kiana, I work for the Food Distribution Reservation and Indian Reserve, FDPIR. It’s just where I’ve lived my whole life and what I’m used to and all the friendly people and my family and all the subsistence lifestyle and all that.

We have mountains all around and there’s three rivers that’s what the native village of Katyaak means, “where three rivers meet.” It’s the Kobuk River, and it’s the Squirrel River and it’s the small channel.

There’s mountains, the mountains out here. In summertime there’s sandbars all over. There’s a sandbar right in front. There are sandbars on the side. Summertime we go out boating, fishing for salmon and sea fish. Wintertime we go out hunting for caribou and uh, birds.

The rivers are starting to freeze over, they’re actually ice-fishing right now and they’re actually catching what we call tiktaalik.

There’s no restaurants, but there’s places to rent if you’re staying for a short period of time. In the summer time we have this company, it’s called Kiana Lodge so they get actually people, tourists, and they come and go stay at the lodge and go fishing or hunting.

It’s just a real beautiful town and friendly people and come and go visit.”

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