N U N I V A K I S L A N D, A K
Situated off the southwest coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea, Nunivak Island is a massive remote sprawl of volcanic tundra and coastal cliffs with a population of only two hundred. There used to be eight hundred. Those who remain live in the lone village of Mekoryuk on the north coast, and face the collision of tradition and modernity in a particularly acute way—yet are persevering impressively. A number of factors converge to make the island a study of identity in the face of constant transition: a generation of cup'ig youth navigating two cultures, a tight knit Christian community combating decades of substance abuse, a fading subsistence lifestyle and unique language, the rapid onset of social media and connected devices, severe climate change, emigration, and a reindeer slaughterhouse under construction that promises wider economic prosperity.
The series of images below were taken in the Fall of 2017 as part of an ongoing yearlong project.