in the Bethel Census Area
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (too noo' nuck); var. Tananak
- Community's Judicial District
Geography and Climate
- Tununak is located in a small bay on the northeast coast of Nelson Island, 115 miles northwest of Bethel and 519 miles northwest of Anchorage.
- The village is located in a marine climate. Average annual precipitation is 17 inches, with 28 inches of snowfall. Summer temperatures can range from 42 to 59 °F, and winter temperatures average 2 to 19 °F. Extremes have been recorded from 80 to -35 °F.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- In 1878 Nelson Island was named after Edward Nelson, a Smithsonian naturalist who noted 6 people, including 1 non-Native trader, living in Tununak. In 1889 the Jesuits opened a small chapel and school. They found the villagers difficult to convert due to the migratory nature of their traditional culture and because the shamans were still quite powerful. The mission closed in 1892. In 1925 a government school was built, and a Northern Commercial Company store was opened in 1929. From 1934 to 1962, a missionary named Father Deshout lived on Nelson Island. His long-standing relationship and work with the people in the area had a great influence. The 1950s brought great changes to the islanders' lifestyle, through their involvement with the Territorial Guard and work in fish canneries, high schools, and healthcare treatment for tuberculosis. For many, this was their first exposure outside the community. By the 1970s, snowmachines were replacing dog-sled teams, and the last qasgiq (men's community houses) was abandoned. The city was incorporated in 1975, but it was dissolved on Feb. 28, 1997, in favor of traditional council governance.
- Tununak is a traditional Yup'ik Eskimo village, with an active fishing and subsistence lifestyle.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Tununak
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Tununak relies on air transportation for passengers, mail, and cargo service. A state-owned 1,778' long by 30' wide gravel airstrip is available. Barges deliver goods two to four times each summer, and goods are lightered to shore. Boats, snowmachines, and ATVs are used for local travel.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District