Brevig Mission, Port Clarence

Brevig Mission, Port Clarence

by | Apr 17, 2021

Brevig Mission is an Iñupiat village located on Brevig Lagoon, on the north shore of Port Clarence, about 151 miles (244 km) southwest of Kotzebue and 81 miles (130 km) northwest of Nome, Alaska. Brevig Lagoon was probably named after Reverend T.L. Brevig, a teacher and superintendent of the Teller Reindeer Station at the turn of the 19th century.

The Kauwerak Iñupiat occupied this area and lived in migratory communities in pursuit of fish and game and trading furs with Siberia, Little Diomede and King Island. Brevig Mission was called Teller Mission prior to 1963, after the Teller Reindeer Station that was established near here in 1892. Teller Mission was named for Henry Moore Teller, a U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Interior. The station was operated by the U.S. Government from 1892 to 1900. On September 1, 1900, a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran mission was established, and in 1906, when the U.S. Government’s role was diminished, the mission became central to maintaining the community.

In 1918, the Spanish Flu arrived in Nome on supply ships from Seattle. From there the virus was transported north with the mail by dog sleds to Teller, Brevig Mission, York, Wales, and Shishmaref. Most of these villages were decimated, with 72 people out of 80 dying within a week in Brevig Mission and most were buried in a mass grave. Everyone in York died. No one in Shishmaref was affected because the villagers prevented anyone from entering the community. Read more here and here. Explore more of Brevig Mission and Port Clarence here:

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