Tuntutuliak, a Yup’ik Eskimo village with a subsistence based economy, is located about 40 miles from the coast of the Bering Sea. The community was originally located four miles east of its current location and was known as Qinaq when Moravian missionaries visited the settlement in 1908. In 1945, the village moved to higher ground to escape seasonal flooding, and was renamed Tuntutuliak, which means “place of many reindeer” in Yup’ik.
Tuntutuliak is a traditional community, and children at the local school are taught in Yup’ik until the third grade, after which classes are conducted in English. Salmon and seal are important sources of food, and subsistence activities constitute the majority of local diets. Almost half of the village’s residents spend their summers at fishcamp, and a substantial number hold commercial permits for salmon and herring roe fisheries.
Like many communities in the Region, federal and government jobs and the local school provide most of the year-round employment opportunities. The majority of local incomes are derived from these sources or from seasonal work such as fishing and fish processing. Traditional handicrafts including basket weaving, trapping and skin sewing also provide cash on a limited basis.
At 440 miles west of Anchorage and 40 miles southwest of Bethel, Tuntutuliak relies heavily on air transportation. Seaplanes can access the village seasonally due to its location on the Kinak River, and barges deliver goods approximately six times a year. Local residents also use boats and snowmachines for transportation, and winter trails to Kipnuk and Kongiganak are heavily used when available.