Eskimo, St Lawrence Island of United States

People Group Info

Total Population: 1,500

ROP3 Code: 109544
IMB Affinity Group: American Peoples
Affinity Bloc: North American Peoples
People Cluster: Inuit
Language: Central Siberian Yupik - (ess)
Religion: Ethnic Religions
Country of Origin: United States

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Majority Located Where

  Savoonga, AK - 1,500

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Brief Profile

The two main peoples known as "Eskimo" are: (1) the Inuit (Canada) or Inupiat (Northern Alaska), and the (2) Yupik of Greenland, and eastern Siberia and Alaska.

The Yupik are three indigenous peoples who live along the coast of western Alaska: the Central Yupik West Alaskan Eskimo, the Pacific Yupik Eskimo, and the St. Lawrence Island Eskimo.

With the above in mind, the St Lawrence Island Eskimo people, also known as Siberian Yupik, are a Yupik people who reside in northwest Alaska (the Siberian Yupik). St. Lawrence Island is part of Alaska, but closer to Siberia than to the Alaskan mainland.

The island contains two villages: Savoonga and Gambell, both inhabited with St. Lawrence Island Eskimo. Their lives continue to evolve around the whale, walrus, seal, and fish.

The language is nearly identical to the language spoken across the Bering Strait on the tip of Siberia's Chukchi Peninsula in Russia.

Children in Gambell and Savoonga learn Siberian Yupik as their first language. There are about 700 plus people who live in Savoonga and 600 plus people who reside in Gambrell.

They create some of the most exquisite carvings out of ivory and whalebone. Traditional subjects include the animals that are a vital part of life on the island, such as whale, walrus and seal, as well as scenes depicting hunting, gathering and family. These artistic forms reflect their belief that people, animals, and the environment are interconnected. A belief that is commonly held among Asians resulting in a belief in reincarnation and viewing time circularly.

For the St. Lawrence Eskimo, their first encountered with Christianity came via the Russian Orhodox Church and Moravians. The Russian Orthodox Church allowed a mixing of Christianity with traditional beliefs. Therefore, cultural traditions and beliefs are still practiced.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that God will send people to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the St. Lawrence Yupik.
  • Pray that Christians who encounter St. Lawrence Yupik will share a relevant and contextualized form of the Gospel.


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