Village Profile

“Place of many reindeer”



Oscarville is a small village located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, across from Napaskiak and six miles southwest of Bethel. It is home to 70 people, according to 2010 census records. Its Yup’ik name is Kuiggayagaq.

Oscar Samuelson and his wife lived in Napaskiak in the early 1900’s. In 1908 they decided to relocate across the river, settling in what came to be known as Oscarville. When Oscar and his wife moved to the village they opened a trading post, which Oscar managed until his death in 1953. In the mid 1950’s, there were 13 homes and two warehouses in the village, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs built a school in 1964. The Samuelson family owned the store until 1975 when it was sold. It closed in the early 1980’s.

Since it is such a small village, Oscarville does not have an airport, therefore the river is essential for transportation. In the summer, boating is the most effective way to travel and in the winter, the Kuskokwim River freezes over and people can drive on the ice. Oscarville relies on Napaskiak for passenger, mail and cargo services. Bethel also is a hub for supplies, since it is the largest nearby town. During the initial freezing and breakup of the river, Oscarville can be become temporarily isolated.

Nearly all of the people who live in Oscarville are Alaska Native. The residents of the village lead a subsistence way of life, though some commercial fishing occurs. The local school is called Qugcuun Elitnaurvik. It enrolls 21 students in kindergarten through 12 grade and there are two teachers. The village of Oscarville is a federally recognized tribe.

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