Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Hunters head back home to Gambell in their angyaq [open skin boat].

Photo by Steve McCutcheon, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, SM04666.

It is such an immense and awesome mammal and we hunt in such small boats out on the wide-open sea. You are at the mercy of the whale itself instead of being a hunter.

– Paapi Merlin Koonooka


Paapi Merlin Koonooka

What the local residents have always said is that Sivuqaq, the Yupik name of our island and also the village of Gambell, means “the one that was wrung and squeezed dry.” St. Lawrence Island has a strategic geographic location, out in the Bering Sea between the mainland of Alaska and the mainland of Russia. We are right in the middle of the marine ecosystem. That means that all around us, depending on the time of the year, we have walrus, whales and seals. All day long you watch the waterfowl flying by, from the point at Gambell. Continue Reading