Gambell is located on the northwest cape of St. Lawrence Island, approximately
200 miles southwest of Nome, in the Bering Sea. The village is 36 miles
from the Chukotsk Peninsula, Siberia. Sivuqaq is the Yup'ik name for the
village and also for the Island. The village was renamed for Mr. and Mrs.
Vene C. Gambell.
Gambell has a maritime climate; winds and fog are common, and precipitation
occurs 300 days per year. Average annual precipitation is 15 inches and
includes 80 inches of snowfall. The Bering Sea freezes during mid-November
and breakup occurs at the end of May. Average summer temperatures range
from 34 to 48 °F, while average winter temperatures range from -2
to 10 °F.
St. Lawrence Island has been inhabited intermittently for the past 2,000
years by both Alaskan and Siberian Yup'ik Eskimos. During the 1930s, some
residents moved to Savoonga to establish a permanent settlement there.
The Island is jointly owned by Gambell and Savoonga. Alaska Natives comprise
more than 96% of the population. The isolation of Gambell has helped to
maintain their traditional Siberian Yup'ik Eskimo culture, language, and
their subsistence lifestyle based upon marine mammals.
The economy in Gambell is largely based upon subsistence harvests from
the sea: seal, walrus, fish and whales. Whaling occurs in Gambell during
the spring as the ice begins to break up. Bowheads and sometimes gray
whales and are hunted. Some reindeer roam free on the island, but most
harvesting occurs in Savoonga. Ivory carving is popular in Gamble and
provides a supplementary source of income.
Braund, Stephen R. 1988. The Skin Boats of Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska.
Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Dumond, Don E., Collins, Henry Bascom, and Giddings, J. Louis(James Louis).
1998. The Hillside Site, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska: an Examination
of Collections from the 1930s. Eugene, OR: Oregon State Museum of Anthropology
and Dept. of Anthropology, University of Oregon.
Elder, Sarah and Kamerling, Leonard. 1974. At the Time of Whaling Aghueghniighmi.
Fairbanks, AK : The Project. 1 videocassette (VHS) (38 min.)
Ellanna, Linda J. and Sherrod, George K. 1984. The Role of Kinship Linkages
in Subsistence Production: Some Implications for Community Organization.
Juneau, AK: Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence.
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Southern Plains
Indian Museum and Crafts Center. 1982. Alaskan Eskimo Carvers of Gambell.
Hughes, Charles C. 1960. An Eskimo Village in the Modern World.
Ithaca, N.Y.:Cornell University Press.
Jolles, Carol Zane. 2002. Faith, Food, and Family in a Yupik Whaling
Community. Seattle,WA: University of Washington Press.
Mobley, Charles M. 2001. Archaeological Monitoring of Military Debris
Removal from Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Anchorage, AK:
Charles M. Mobley & Associates.
Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings. 1990 1999. Eskimo Songs from Alaska.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. 1 sound disc (43 min.,
50 sec.) Language: Yupik languages; Sung in Eskimo. Smithsonian/Folkways
Recordings; FE 4069.
United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Planning Support Group. 1977.
Gambell, Its History, Population, and Economy. Billings, MT: The
From the weather underground
From the weather underground
Summary Climate data for Gambell
Sea Ice conditions for AK, images from the last 14 days
Sea ice map from NOAA
Sea Ice forecast models for AK - 1 through 6 day forecasts
From AK Dept. of Community and economic Development
History of the Presbyterian Church on St. Lawrence Island
Gambell community site from Kawarek, Inc.
Susie Silook article
Description of Gambell from beringsea.com