Village Profile

Chefornak
“Where Tundra meets the sea”

Stony River

Teggalqum Kuiga – “Stone River”

An island in the middle of the Kuskokwim River, 185 miles northeast of Bethel, Stony River may seem to be just a little dot on the map. Its location, however, is just two miles north of where the Kuskokwim and Stony Rivers meet. This provides easy access to river transportation during the summer, when barges can deliver cargo and fuel. It also makes for a good thoroughfare for snowmachines in the winter, its closest neighbors being Sleetmute and Red Devil (approximately 20 air miles) to the west and Lime Village (60 air miles) to the southeast.

Home to approximately 50 people, the village is still sometimes referred to as Moose Village and Moose Creek, names applied to the area when the first trade store was opened in the early turn of the last century. For a while, Stony River was a trading post and riverboat landing to supply mining operations in the north.

Stony River was home to the late Gusty Mikhael, who lived well into his 80s. Gusty is often referred to as the most polyglot Native in Alaska. He spoke six different languages and played a major role in the recording of many of the different traditional names and dialects of villages, rivers and tributaries all over the Region. Stony River is comprised of both Athabascan Indians and Yup'ik Eskimos. At one point, three different Athabascan dialects were spoken in the village. Bilingualism is still common in the village (not including the influx of English).

A second outpost store was opened in 1930 and a post office followed shortly thereafter. A school was constructed in the 1960s, but to date, there are still few economic opportunities in the area. Residents depend heavily on subsistence foods, and traditional means of harvesting and preparing. Their diet primarily relies on salmon, moose, caribou, bear, porcupine, waterfowl and berries.

Temperatures range from -58 to 90 °F, and the annual snowfall averages 85 inches, with 22 inches of precipitation. The village has a gravel/dirt state-owned airstrip, and weekday air services deliver mail and other cargo, but high winds often cause flight delays in the fall and winter.


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