Alaska: The Tycoons of Tyonek

Perched on the rugged shore of Cook Inlet, the remote Alaskan community of Tyonek might well pass for an upper-middle-class Midwestern suburb. Its 60 houses (average price: $25,000), all equipped with modern appliances and television, stand along winding, tree-lined streets. It has a glistening commu nity hall, its own airstrip and guest house. Construction is under way on a modern $737,000 schoolhouse; in the works are a power plant, fire station and store. Yet Tyonek's conspicuous prosperity is a remarkably recent phenomenon: until the last year or so, the Athabasca Indians who largely make up the village's population of...

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