The History of Emmonak

Emmonak is located at the mouth of the Yukon River, 10 miles from the Bering Sea, on the north bank of Kwiguk Pass. It lies 120 air miles northwest of Bethel and 490 air miles from Anchorage, in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. It lies at approximately 62 47' N Latitude, 164 32' W Longitude (Sec. 17, T031N, R081W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area encompasses 6 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water.

The village was originally called "Kwiguk," a Yup'ik word meaning "big stream." Villagers call themselves "Kuigpagmuit," or "people from the Yukon River." The original settlement was 1.4 miles south of its present location, and was first reported by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1899. A post office was established there in 1920. Later, commercial fishing became a major industry in the village and the northern Commercial Company built a cannery. In 1964, the cannery was washed away by floods. Due to increasing flooding and erosion, the village was relocated 1.4 miles north of Kwiguk in 1964-65. The new location was renamed Emmonak, which means "black fish.".

To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online

History, map graphic and photograph used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development