Kotlik Alaska is home to almost 600 people and is located on the east bank of the Kotlik Slough in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. The village is 35 miles northeast of Emmonak, 165 air miles northwest of Bethel and 460 miles from Anchorage.
The village was settled in the 1960s when residents of nearby communities Channiliut, Hamilton, Bill Moore’s Slough and Pastolaik relocated to the area after a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) school was built there. Many residents are the descendants of Russian traders who settled in the late 1800s, and most practice a subsistence lifestyle.
The Village of Kotlik is a federally recognized tribe, and over 95 percent of residents are Calista Shareholders. The community’s excellent location on the Kotlik Slough allows access by large barges and riverboats, which has positioned the area as one of the main ports and commercial centers in the area.
Numerous residents hold commercial fishing licenses due to the primarily seasonal economy, and most families have fishcamps on the Yukon. Salmon, seal, beluga whale and moose are harvested regularly and are a vital part of local subsistence activities. The village derives its Yup’ik name – Qerrulliik (a pair of pants) – from its location, where the Yukon River splits apart nearby like the legs on a pair of trousers.