Wedged between two rivers, the city of Goodnews Bay is a predominantly Yup’ik Eskimo community. Located along the coast of Goodnews Bay, beside the mouth of Goodnews River, the community is about 116 air miles south of Bethel.
246 people call Goodnews Bay home, according to the 2011 Alaska Department of Labor. Residents rely on traditional subsistence foods, like fish, seal, moose, bear and birds. The city, school, local businesses and commercial fishing are the biggest employers.
The community received its name in 1818, when two Russian explorers dubbed the village Dobriek Vestei (meaning good news). The current city is a short distance from where it originated; Goodnews Bay was moved in the 1920’s to escape continual flooding and stormy weather. The Yup’ik name for the original village was Imagpiguak , meaning “Little Ocean,” its new Yup’ik name is Mumtraq .
Goodnews Bay has a rich mining history in 1926, Yup’ik Eskimos Walter Smith and Henry Wuya discovered platinum in nearby streams. The discovery yielded small-scale mining until 1937 when Goodnews Bay Mining Company began its operations. The company recovered 500,000 tons of platinum, making it the only commercial producer of platinum in the U.S.
In 2010, engineers with the Division of Environmental Health and Engineering of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium completed a 10-year project that brought water and sewer to the community, meaning every house now has running water and flushing toilets.
Goodnews Bay was the host community for the 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.