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The History of Dot Lake Village, Alaska


    The Native Village of Dot Lake, a traditional Upper Tanana Athabascan village, is located south of the Tanana River, two-tenths of a mile southeast of the Alaska Highway, 50 miles northwest of Tok and 155 road miles southeast of Fairbanks. The population as of 2011 was 55.

    Archaeological evidence at nearby Healy Lake revealed more than 10,000 years of human habitation. Dot Lake was used as a seasonal hunting camp for Athabascans from George Lake and Tanacross. A Native freight trail ran north to the Yukon River through Northway, Tetlin, Tanacross, and Dot Lake. During construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942-43, a work camp called Sears City occupied Dot Lake's present location. Several local Natives worked on the road project.

    The Native village was settled by Doris Charles and her family in 1946. Between 1946 and 1950, other families moved permanently to Dot Lake from George Lake, Sam Lake, and the Tanacross area, obtaining homesites or Native allotments. Some of the old work camp structures were converted into homes. In 1971, seven new homes were constructed along the lake. The Dot Lake Native Corporation developed a shareholder's subdivision, consisting of 53 one-acre lots. In 1994 and 1996, nine additional Indian Housing Authority homes were built.

    Employment in the area is limited to the village council, Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the school. Parkas, moccasins, beadwork, and other handicrafts are sold by local residents. In the summer, the BLM hires firefighting crews. Subsistence activities are particularly important -- moose, ducks, geese, ptarmigan, porcupines, caribou, whitefish, and other freshwater fish are utilized. Salmon are primarily obtained from the Copper River area, where a number of residents have extended families.


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To the main Department of Community and Economic Development Alaska Community Database Online


History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development