About the YK Delta
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, a lowland river delta, is our traditional homeland.
The region, made up of 75,000 square miles, is approximately the land size of the state of Oregon with a population of more than 23,000 people who live among 58 rural communities not connected by road. The communities range in size from 25 to over 1,000 persons each. Bethel, the regional service and transportation center, has a population of nearly 7,000. From the villages, Bethel is only accessible by airplane, boat, and (in winter) snowmobiles and four wheelers. Cars often use the frozen rivers as roads during winter.
The land and waters of our area are rich in fish, mammals, birds, and plants that sustain us. Our economy is mixed, with residents using wages to pay for the snowmobiles, boats, motors, ammunition, and fuel that traditional harvesting requires. Although prices are high, often making hunting and fishing difficult to afford, our region’s residents remain committed to traditional harvesting activities and to sharing that return with loved ones.
The Region: At a Glance
Our region’s geographic area is larger than half of the (25) states in the nation
Overall population is approximately 82% all or part Alaska Native
Map & Travel Information
This map offers an opportunity to explore our region’s local geography. As described above, the YK Delta is an expansive area in southwest Alaska. With the exception of two communities in the northern part of our region, none of our communities are interconnected by roads or highways. This makes travel by small airplane the most reliable form of transportation throughout all seasons of the year. During spring, summer and fall seasons, large shipments (of vehicles, household items like furniture and other commercial goods) are brought into the area by barge. Year-round air cargo companies offer transportation of larger, bulk shipments as well. The unique geography of our area offers great opportunity and experience for those delivering healthcare and related services to members of our network of care.
Get to know the people of our area
The region is home to three cultures — Yup’ik, Cup’ik, and Athabascan.
Traditionally, Yup’ik have lived throughout the region; Cup’ik call Nunivak Island and coastal villages home; and Athabascans have resided along the Yukon River and interior villages.
The Yup’ik language is the first language of more than 14,000 men, women, and children in our area, making it the most widely spoken Alaska Native language today.
The Tribes in our service area compact to offer healthcare services on behalf of the Indian Health Services.
YKHC, along with 12 other Tribal Health Organizations throughout Alaska, is a co-signer to the Alaska Tribal Health Compact and serves in leadership at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
Learn about the latest news and information provided by the region’s public radio station.
Read the local news and columns of interest, published in the weekly newspaper serving our region.