Before I start, or rather before you start, I would like to direct you to the Just a Word page.
I recently moved to a remote village in rural Alaska, and I work at the school as a Kindergarten Teacher. The village, New Stuyahok, consists of about 500 people, 96% of whom are Yup'ik [You-pick] Eskimo. Just about every indigenous group in the Americas has a name that translates as "the people" this holds true for Yup'ik people as well, but the actual translation for Yup'ik is "real people", or "genuine people". All living things depend on each other for survival, and this interplay is easy to witness in the harsh environment that Eskimo people face here in the North. The subsistence life style (living from the resources provided by the Earth) is still predominant, and it is interesting to see it existing side by side (co-existing you might say) with the structure of a westernized school system (more on that later). I had a friend tell me, as he was splitting a bunch of Whitefish "We are like farmers, but we let mother nature do all the growing, we just harvest things when the time is right."
The village is up the Nushagak River from Bristol Bay on the Bering Sea. Since the village can only be reached by plane or boat the distance depends on how you travel. If you go by bush plane, it is just under 50 miles from the major hub of the region, Dillingham, which consists of 2,500 people. If you go upriver by skiff, it is much longer, and although it is used, it is not the most common way of travel. Speaking of travel, the main mode of travel here depends on the time of year. In the Summer and Fall (Juneish - Oct), 4 wheelers take the cake. In the Winter and Spring (Nov - June) Snow machines are ideal, but 4 wheelers are also used. Anytime the river is not frozen, skiff is another way to travel, and it is used extensively for hunting, fishing, getting wood, etc.
I wrote this long after arriving, and I'm sure I'm leaving out important information, so please comment with curiosities and I'll add more.
Thanks to Google Earth, here is a gradual zoom-in of New Stuyahok to give you a better idea of location.
There are more King and Red Salmon harvested in the waters of Bristol Bay than anywhere else in the World. Dillingham is at the mouth of the Nushagak River, the river is the green line running up to the right from Dillingham in the above picture. Dillingham is where the district office is for Southwest Region Schools, and it is the main hub for the region. Being that it is as the mouth of the Nushagak river, it is accessible from the sea by larger boats from other larger cities like Anchorage and Seattle especially. This makes it a good place for villagers to get supplies.
The village can be reached by barge, which usually happens a handful of times throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall up until the river freezes. This is where most of the large supplies come from like 4 wheelers, skiffs, cars (which are pretty much unnecessary), snow machines, building supplies, etc.
The pictures Google Earth has are a bit outdated. The school and teacher housing were built about 5-6 years ago, but they don't show up, so I marked where they are in the picture below, which is basically where the old airstrip was. There are also some newer homes between there and the rest of the village.
Below is an actual overhead picture of the village, also before the school, teacher and other newer resident housing were built.
The picture below is pretty clear. Shows the beach pretty well on the bottom left where all the skiffs are parked. Access to the river is extremely important to life here. The big building in the middle is the old school. Pretty run down these days, but the gym is still used for dances and some other events.
Below is the new school. I will write another post in the future about school in general. As you can see people get around with 4-wheelers.