A quiet place to subsistence fish and hunt during the summer, Umkumiute is a seasonal fish camp located on Nelson Island. The nearest villages are Nightmute and Toksook Bay, which is where most of the island’s summer residents come from.
Starting in May, people begin to make their way to the island by boat or plane. They’ll spend the long summer days subsistence fishing for salmon, herring and halibut or hunting bearded seals and waterfowl. This is the landscape where many area Youth first learn traditional ways of life, watching their Elders live off the land.
Thousands of years ago, Yup’ik Eskimos set up camp here for a reason, the coastline produces a wealth of resources to harvest. During the 1950’s, about 100 residents called Umkumiute home. Today, between 40 and 60 make the trek every summer, where they live a simpler lifestyle without electricity, a general store or vehicles. If they need something they make a trip to a nearby village.
Residents describe the weather as “unpredictable,” the island experiences a marine climate with annual precipitation averaging 22 inches, with 43 inches of snow. During the winter months temperatures range from six to 24 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures reaching up to 57 degrees in the summer.