Brevig Mission, Alaska

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Brevig Mission
Sitaisaq / Sinauraq
Brevig Mission in 2017
Brevig Mission in 2017
Brevig Mission is located in Alaska
Brevig Mission
Brevig Mission
Location in Alaska
Coordinates: 65°20′3″N 166°29′35″W / 65.33417°N 166.49306°W / 65.33417; -166.49306Coordinates: 65°20′3″N 166°29′35″W / 65.33417°N 166.49306°W / 65.33417; -166.49306
CountryUnited States
Census AreaNome
IncorporatedOctober 6, 1969[1]
 • MayorBertha E. Barr
 • State senatorDonny Olson (D)
 • State rep.Neal Foster (D)
 • Total2.51 sq mi (6.51 km2)
 • Land2.43 sq mi (6.30 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)
16 ft (5 m)
 • Total428
 • Density175.99/sq mi (67.95/km2)
Time zoneUTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
Area code907
FIPS code02-08740
GNIS feature ID1420670

Brevig Mission (Inupiaq: Sitaisaq or Sinauraq; Russian: Бревиг-Мишен) is a city in Nome Census Area, Alaska. The population was 388 at the 2010 census, up from 276 in 2000. It is named for the Norwegian Lutheran pastor Tollef L. Brevig, who served at the mission that would later bear his name.[3] First settled in 1900, the mission became known as Teller Mission before receiving its current name. The mostly Inupiat Eskimo population continues to practice subsistence. Brevig Mission is a dry village, which means the sale or possession of alcohol is illegal.[4]


Brevig Mission is located at 65°20′3″N 166°29′35″W / 65.33417°N 166.49306°W / 65.33417; -166.49306 (65.334235, -166.492952).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), of which, 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.89%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
Native huts and storage platforms, with platform graves in the distance, Teller reindeer station (1894)

Brevig Mission first appeared on the 1950[7] U.S. Census and in 1960[8] as the unincorporated village of "Teller Mission."[9] In 1969, it was formally incorporated under its present name of Brevig Mission.

As of the census of 2000,[10] there were 276 people, 68 households, and 53 families residing in the city. The population density was 106.3 inhabitants per square mile (41.0/km2). There were 76 housing units at an average density of 29.3 per square mile (11.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 8.0% White, 90.6% Native American, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.

Of the 68 households, 52.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.9% were married couples living together, 25.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.6% were non-families. 14.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.06 and the average family size was 4.35.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 45.3% under the age of 18, 12.3% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 10.1% from 45 to 64, and 3.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 20 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,875, and the median income for a family was $16,786. Males had a median income of $11,250 versus $25,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $7,278. About 43.3% of families and 48.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.8% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


Brevig Mission is served by the Bering Strait School District. Brevig Mission School serves grades Pre-K through 12.

1918 Spanish Flu[edit]

The pandemic caused by the 1918 influenza outbreak was by far the most devastating single disease outbreak in modern history, killing at least 50 million people during an 18-month period. In Brevig Mission alone, it killed 72 out of 80 residents in a 5-day period.[11] The 72 victims were buried in the frozen ground in a mass grave dug for them by gold miners and marked by white crosses.[12] As happened elsewhere in the Americas after the arrival of Columbus, Indigenous Alaska Natives had no genetic resistance to any flu, so it decimated many villages.[11]

In 1997, a team of scientists led by Johan Hultin exhumed the frozen remains of an Iñupiat woman who had been buried in the permafrost in a gravesite near Brevig Mission in a successful attempt to recover RNA from her lung tissue.[13] It enabled them to analyze the structure of the 1918 influenza virus (Spanish flu), which may have originated in Fort Riley, Kansas, that killed her.


  1. ^ 1996 Alaska Municipal Officials Directory. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League/Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. January 1996. p. 34.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Brevig Mission – Kawerak". Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  4. ^ "Brevig Mission and Teller, Alaska | Maruskiya's of Nome Alaska Native Art". Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  7. ^[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ "Geological Survey Professional Paper". 1949.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ a b "Permafrost Preserves Clues to Deadly 1918 Flu, Alaska Science Forum". Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  12. ^ McKnight, Michael (2020-05-27). "Into the Wild. Twice. For Mankind". Retrieved 2020-08-21.
  13. ^ Kolata, Gina (27 Jan 2022). "Johan Hultin, Who Found Frozen Clues to 1918 Virus, Dies at 97". New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to Brevig Mission, Alaska at Wikimedia Commons