Published on October 13, 2010 by John
Location and Climate
Kwigillingok is on the western shore of Kuskokwim Bay near the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It lies 77 miles southwest of Bethel and 388 miles west of Anchorage. The village of Kongiganak is nearby. The community lies at approximately 59.863930° North Latitude and -163.133220° West Longitude. (Sec. 01, T004S, R081W, Seward Meridian). Kwigillingok is located in the Bethel Recording District. Kwigillingok is located in a marine climate. Annual precipitation averages 22 inches, with 43 inches of snowfall annually. Summer temperatures range from 41 to 57 °F, and winter temperatures average 6 to 24 °F.
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History, Culture and Demographics
The area has long been occupied by the Yup’ik Eskimos. The first record of the village was in 1927 on an Alaska map, when it was noted as “Quillingok.” A Moravian church was established around 1920.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community — the Native Village of Kwigillingok. The population of the community consists of 97.9% Alaska Native or part Native. Kwigillingok is a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo village, practicing a commercial fishing and subsistence lifestyle. The sale and importation of alcohol is banned in the village. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 78, and vacant housing units numbered 5. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 78 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 28.44 percent, although 59.38 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $36,250, per capita income was $7,577, and 34.7 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Water is currently derived from snow melt and a lake reservoir and is treated and hauled by residents from the Washeteria. The school operates its own surface water treatment facility but shares a sewage lagoon with the Washeteria. Homes are not plumbed. Honeybuckets are disposed of by residents. Electricity is provided by Kwig Power Company. There is one school located in the community, attended by 121 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Kwigillingok Health Clinic. Emergency Services have coastal and air access. Emergency service is provided by a health aide.
Economy and Transportation
Most employment in Kwigillingok is with the school, village government, stores, or commercial fishing. Income is supplemented by subsistence activities. In 2009, 17 residents held commercial fishing permits. A local arts and crafts cooperative markets local handicrafts.
A state-owned 2,510′ long by 60′ wide gravel airstrip is is available. A seaplane base is also available. There are no docking facilities. In summer, resdients use skiffs and other boats for travel to Bethel and area villages. Snowmachines and ATVs provide transportation during winter. Winter trails are marked to Kipnuk (35 mi) and Kongiganak (11.1 mi).