Quinhagak is one of the oldest villages in the Region with its roots dating back to 1,000 A.D. The location was officially marked in 1826 by the Russian explorer Gavril Sarychev. The village sits on the bank of the Kanektok River along the east shore of Kuskokwim Bay. Because of its convenient location, Quinhagak became an established shipping hub. Following the purchase of Alaska, Quinhagak began receiving regular shipments from the Alaska Commercial Company. Supplies were stored in a building along a waterway that quickly became known as Warehouse Creek.
The village expanded in the early 1900’s; a general stored opened in 1904, followed by a post office in 1906 and the community’s first school in 1909. By 1915, the Kuskokwim River was well charted and goods began being directly barged up river to the Region’s hub of Bethel.
Since the village’s beginnings subsistence has long been an important practice in daily life and continues to be important today. In the early 1900’s a herd of about 2,000 reindeer were purchased and managed by the Kuskokwim Reindeer Company. The domesticated animals roamed the area until the early 1950’s when the herd scattered. Today, salmon and seal are the staples of many people’s diets. Fishing feeds families and provides income, 80 residents held commercial fishing permits in 2011, according to the Alaska Department of Commerce. Coastal Villages’ operates a seafood plant in the community, processing salmon, herring and halibut. Traditional skills also generate some income including trapping, skin sewing, ivory carving and basket weaving.
The 2011 census showed 675 living in Quinhagak, the majority of people are Yup’ik Eskimo. The Native Village of Kwinhagak is the federally recognized tribe located in the community.