Kiana is located on the north bank of the Kobuk River, 57 air miles east of Kotzebue and is in the Kotzebue Recording District. The area encompasses 0.2 sq. miles of land and 0.0 sq. miles of water. Kiana is located in the transitional climate zone. Temperatures average -10 to 15 during winter; 40 to 60 during summer. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -54 to 87. Snowfall averages 60 inches, with 16 inches of total precipitation per year. The Kobuk River is navigable from the end of May to early October.
Kiana means “a place where three rivers meet.” It was established long ago as the central village of the Kobuk River Kowagmiut Inupiat. In 1909, it became a supply center for the Squirrel River placer mines. A post office was established in 1915. The City government was incorporated in 1964. Prior to the formation of the Northwest Arctic Borough in 1976, the BIA high school taught students from Noatak, Shungnak and Ambler, who boarded with local residents.
Kiana is a traditional Inupiat village practicing a subsistence lifestyle. The sale or importation of alcohol is banned in the village.
The economy depends on traditional subsistence activities, augmented by a cash economy. Chum salmon, freshwater fish, moose, caribou, waterfowl and berries are harvested. The school, City, and Maniilaq Association provide the majority of year-round jobs. The Red Dog Mine also offers area employment. Kiana is one of the more modern villages in the Borough, and has three general stores. Three residents hold commercial fishing permits; seasonal employment also includes work on river barges, BLM fire-fighting and jade mining. There is local interest in constructing a whitefish and turbot value-added processing plant. The City is also interested in developing eco-tourism, primarily guided river trips to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.
Borough Assembly Member
Larry Westlake, Sr.
P.O. Box 110 Kiana, AK 99749