Crooked Creek is located in the Kilbuk-Kuskokwim Mountains on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, about 300 air miles west of Anchorage. The village gets its English name from the curved river it resides on.
The village of Crooked Creek first appears in western historical records in 1844, when the Russian explorer Lavrentiy Alekseyevich Zagoskin reported it during his travels in Alaska. His journals state that the nearby villagers of Kwigiumpainukamuit had used the site as a summer fish camp for many generations.
By late 1909, a permanent settlement had been established as a way station for the Flat and Iditarod gold mining camps. Evelyn Thomas of Crooked Creek Traditional Council says that since the mines closed down after World War II, the lack of steady work has caused the local economy to become very depressed. “With the potential development of Donlin Creek on the horizon, residents are optimistic about the village’s future,” she says.
Many residents feel that the younger generation is one of the things that make Crooked Creek a special place. Donlin could provide employment for the youth that is close to home. Evelyn says that everyone is excited about the possibility of jobs and better lives for people in the Region. “You can see this hope reflected in the happy faces in Crooked Creek,” she says.