Indian Health director to visit Interior villages

The director of the Indian Health Service is scheduled to visit interior villages tomorrow (Thurs, June 9.)  IHS Director, Rear Admiral Chris Buchanan plans to tour Rampart and Allakaket with a group of state and regional Native leaders. Charlotte Mayo is a tribal workforce development specialist at with the Allakaket village council. Mayo says the Koyukuk River community will highlight essential infrastructure.

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Alakaket Village (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

“We really need running water,” Mayo said. “We are one of the last villages to get running water. We have a lot of elders that can’t leave their houses and, we really need running water.”

Mayo says the village currently gets its water from a “washateria”, but it only has three showers and two washing machines.  Mayo says the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is targeting a pilot project that will bring water and sewer to a limited number of homes in Allakaket. She says it could range from three to 21 homes, depending on funding. About 180 people live in Allakaket, and across the river in the village of Alatna (a-LOT-na), and Mayo says residents are getting ready to welcome the IHS director and accompanying officials.

“We are cleaning up all over the place so it will look nice and getting all the Native foods ready: moose soup and fish,” Mayo said.

Secretary Buchanan’s group is scheduled to visit the Yukon River village of Rampart to see water and clinic facilities, and meet with local leaders.


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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.