2nd Class City
in the Aleutians West Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (at' ka)
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
- Aleutian Islands
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Refuse Collection, Landfill, Health Clinic, Volunteer Fire, Local Transportation, Apartment Rentals, Post Office, Dock, Roads, Planning, Bulk Fuel Facility Operations, Electric, Hydro-Electric facility and Airport Maintenance
Geography and Climate
- Atka is located on Atka Island, 1,200 air miles southwest from Anchorage and 350 miles west of Unalaska.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- Atka lies in the maritime climate zone. Temperatures range from 20 to 60 °F. Precipitation averages 60 inches per year, and snowfall averages 61 inches per year. There are frequent winds and severe storms in the winter and calm, foggy weather in summer.
History and Culture
- The island has been occupied by Unangas for at least 2,000 years. Unangas speak the western dialect, known since the Russian era as "Aleut". Recent archaeological evidence indicates that the present village site may have had human use since prehistoric times. The first contact with Russians occurred in 1747, and Atka became an important trade site and safe harbor for Russians. In 1787 a number of hunters were enslaved and relocated to the Pribilofs to work in the fur seal harvest. The townsite was settled in the 1860s. After the end of the sea otter hunting era in the late 1800s, Atka had no viable cash economy. Reindeer were introduced to the island in 1914. During the 1920s, Atka became relatively affluent due to fox farming. After the Japanese attacked Unalaska and seized Attu and Kiska in June 1942, the U.S. Government evacuated Atka residents to the Ketchikan area. Atka was burned to the ground to prevent Japanese forces from using it and advancing. The community was rebuilt by the U.S. Navy after the war, and residents were allowed to return. Many Attu villagers, released from imprisonment in Japan in 1945, relocated to Atka. This exposure to the outside world brought many changes in the traditional culture and attitudes in the community. The city was incorporated in 1988.
- A traditional Unanga settlement, exposure to the outside world has brought changes to the traditional lifestyle; however, the Aleut language is still spoken in one-fourth of homes. The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church is a central part of village life. Sea lions and other sea mammals are an important part of the subsistence lifestyle, and meat is shared village-wide on an informal basis.
- Indigenous Language
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Atka
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Atka has a state-owned, city-maintained asphalt, lighted runway. Scheduled air services are available three times weekly from Unalaska. Planes can be chartered from Cold Bay or Unalaska. Freight service is provided from April to October. The city dock and port facility is located 5 miles from town in Nazan Bay.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection