300 Villages: Hooper Bay

This week we’re headed to Western Alaska to the village of Hooper Bay near the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. Fred Joseph Jr. is the tribal administrator there.

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“My name is Fred Joseph Jr., I live in Hooper Bay and I’m the tribal administrator for the Native Village of Hooper Bay.

As far as I know it’s been here for thousands of years. We were originally located down at the beach and there were a few scattered camps all over. They built a school here a long time ago in what is known here now as the Village of Hooper Bay. They moved up here for the access to the river, and the schools and the churches.

There’s some seasonal work, fishing, hot-shot firefighting and construction in the summers. And there’s pretty permanent jobs here at the school and with the city and the Native Village of Hooper Bay and Sea Lion (Corp.) and CVRF. And the kids get to work in the summertime.

There are subsistence activities, some during the summer and some during the winter. There’s high school  activities going on in the winter time. And probably just walk around the tundra… going down to the beach in the summer-time. We like to meet up at the school in the winter time and watch some games.

Everybody just about knows each other and they work together. It’s nice – no hustle, bustle of the city. Life is hard but simple and we get by.”