Atka is located on Atka Island, 1,100 miles from Anchorage on the southwest shore of Nazan Bay near a deep, protected anchorage. The location of the island allows relatively easy access to the Bering Sea to the North, and to the Pacific Ocean to the south. The community is adjacent to rich Pacific cod, pollock, sablefish, Atka mackerel, and Aleutian Islands golden king crab.
The island has been occupied by Unangans for at least 2,000 years. The first contact with Russians occurred in 1747, and Atka became an important trade site and safe harbor for Russians. The town site 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’s residents to the Ketchikan area. Atka was burned to the ground to prevent Japanese forces from using it.
The U.S. Navy rebuilt the community after the war, and residents were allowed to return. Many Attu villagers, released from imprisonment in Japan in 1945, relocated to Atka.
About 100 people live in Atka today. The organization has developed into something that we really hoped for. It has benefited the region immensely, with literally millions of dollars invested in the region in communities that needed it badly. We have seen successes that have been very beneficial and with the investments we are making now, we are going to create a lot of jobs.
The City of Atka is a second-class city incorporated in 1988, and since it does not belong to an organized borough, the City is responsible for many services. Atxam Corporation is the Native village corporation. The Native Village of Atka, a federally recognized tribe, is located in the community.
In 1994, APICDA and the Atka Fishermen’s Association formed Atka Pride Seafoods to process halibut products and sablefish, operating seasonally from June through September. The plant has operated at a profit for several years, providing good paying jobs and advancement opportunities for local residents, and supporting the City of Atka through raw fish taxes. APICDA plans to expand the APS plant in 2013-14 so it can operate as a diversified year-round seafood processor. APICDA also owns and operates the Nazan Bay Inn, a small hotel providing lodging for visitors.