VENETIE - GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY OF VENETIE



Venetie (Vįįhtąįį in Gwich’in), pronounced VEEN-ih-tye, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 202.

Venetie is located at 67°3′20″N 146°24′58″W / 67.05556°N 146.41611°W / 67.05556; -146.41611 (67.055639, -146.416052).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54 km2), all of it land.

Demographics
As of the census of 2012, there were 202 people, 63 households, and 48 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 9.7 people per square mile (3.7/km²). There were 79 housing units at an average density of 3.8/sq mi (1.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 3.47% White, 92.08% Native American, and 4.46% from two or more races. Most residents are Gwich'in Athabaskan.

There were 63 households out of which 44.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.0% were married couples living together, 30.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21 and the average family size was 3.58.

In the CDP the age distribution of the population shows 32.2% under the age of 18, 17.8% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 15.3% from 45 to 64, and 6.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 127.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 114.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $21,000, and the median income for a family was $21,429. Males had a median income of $22,500 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $7,314. About 34.0% of families and 42.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 52.8% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those sixty five or over.

History
Venetie is located on the north side of the Chandalar River, 45 miles northwest of Fort Yukon. It lies at approximately 67° 01' N Latitude, 146° 25' W Longitude (Sec. 10, T025N, R006E, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Fairbanks Recording District. The area encompasses 13 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water.

Known to early explorers as Old Robert's Village or Chandalar Village, Venetie was founded in 1895 by a man named Old Robert who chose Venetie because of its plentiful fish and game. In 1899, the U.S. Geological Survey noted about 50 Natives living on the Chandalar, some in small settlements of cabins about 7 miles above the mouth of the River, but most in the mountainous part of the country beyond the Yukon Flats. He noted that the Natives spent only the coldest winter months in cabins and the remainder of the year traveling for various food sources. In 1905, Venetie was a settlement of a half a dozen cabins and 25 or 30 residents. The gold rush to the Chandalar region in 1906-07 brought a large number of miners. A mining camp of nearly 40 cabins and attendant services was established at Caro upriver from Venetie, and another store was located near the mouth of the East Fork. By 1910, the Chandalar was largely played out and Caro almost completely abandoned.

In 1943, the Venetie Indian Reservation was established, due to the combined efforts of the residents of Venetie, Arctic Village, Christian Village and Robert's Fish Camp, who worked together to protect their land for subsistence use. At about this same time, a school was established at Venetie, encouraging additional families to settle in the village. Eventually an airstrip, post office and store were built. During the 1950s and 60s, the use of seasonal camps declined, but the advent of the snowmachine enabled Venetie residents to renew use of areas which had traditionally been occupied seasonally. When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was passed in 1971, Venetie and Arctic Village opted for title to the 1.8 million acres of land in the former Reservation, which they own as tenants in common through the Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government. 

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Luciano Mende

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