Chalkyitsik is located on the Black River
about 50 miles east of Fort Yukon. It lies at approximately 66░ 39' N
Latitude, 143░ 43' W Longitude (Sec. 12, T021N, R018E, Fairbanks
Meridian). The community is located in the Fairbanks Recording District.
The area encompasses 2 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.
means "fish hooking place," and has traditionally been an important
seasonal fishing site for the Gwich'in. Archaeological excavations in
the area reveal use and occupancy of the region as early as 10,000 B.C.
Village elders remember a highly nomadic way of life, living at the
headwaters of the Black River from autumn to spring, and then floating
downriver to fish in summer. Early explorers of the region refer briefly
to the Black River Gwich'in Natives. Archdeacon MacDonald encountered
them on the Black and Porcupine Rivers, as well as trading and
socializing in Fort Yukon and Rampart, on a number of occasions from
1863 to 1868. Around the turn of the century, the Black River band began
to settle in Salmon Village, about 70 miles upriver from the present
site. The first permanent structure was built there by William Salmon, a
Canadian Indian who married a Black River woman. In the late 1930s, a
boat bound for Salmon Village with construction materials for a school
had to unload at Chalkyitsik because of low water. The site was used as
a seasonal fishing camp, and four cabins existed at that time. The
decision was made to build the school there, and the Black River people
began to settle around the school. By 1969, there were 26 houses, a
store, two churches and a community hall in Chalkyitsik.