The village of Emmonak is located at the mouth of the Yukon River, 10 miles from the Bering Sea. It is 120 air miles northwest of Bethel and 490 air miles from Anchorage.
In 2000, there were 767 people living in Emmonak. Residents call themselves “Kuigpagmuit,” which means “people from the Yukon River.” The village was originally called “Kwiguk,” which is Yup’ik for “big stream.”
The original settlement was located 1.4 miles south of its present location, and was first reported to the Western world by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1899. The village was moved due to increased flooding and the resulting erosion in 1964-65. The new location was given the name “Emmonak,” which means “black fish.”
Commercial fishing was the major industry until 1964, when flooding destroyed the Northern Commercial Company cannery.