The History of Tuntutuliak

Tuntutuliak is on the Qinaq River, approximately 3 miles from its confluence with the Kuskokwim River, about 40 miles from the Bering Sea coast. It lies 40 miles southwest of Bethel and 440 miles west of Anchorage. It lies at approximately 60 22' N Latitude, 162 38' W Longitude (Sec. 21, T003N, R077W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area encompasses 27 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

The village's Yup'ik name is Tuntutuliaq, meaning "place of many reindeer." It was originally located four miles to the east and called Qinaq, as noted in 1879 by Edward Nelson who found 175 residents at that time. In 1908, a Moravian missionary visited the village and found 130 people living there. In 1909 a BIA school was built, and the first teacher was well liked in the community. Due to lack of confidence in the subsequent teachers, the school was closed in 1917 and the building moved to the village of Eek. It is thought that some Qinaq villagers may have moved to Eek so their children could attend school. In 1923 the first Moravian Chapel was built, with lumber and other support from Eek. In the late 1920s a trading post and store was opened by John Johnson. The community moved to its present site on higher ground and was renamed Tuntutuliak in 1945. The BIA built a school in 1957. A post office opened in 1960.


To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online


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