Walrus Islands National Historic Landmark plaque dedicated in Dillingham

Mar 31, 2018

The plaque dedicating the Walrus Islands Archeological District will be placed on Round Island.


Jim Fall with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Greg Dudgeon with the National Park Service and Moses Toyukak Sr. with the Qayassiq Walrus Commission hold the plaque that recognizes the Walrus Islands Archaeological District as a National Historic Landmark.
Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

Representatives of the National Parks Service were in Dillingham last week to dedicate the National Historic Landmark plaque for the Walrus Islands Archeological District near Togiak in Bristol Bay. At the dedication of the plaque, it was standing room only in the small University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus classroom where the ceremony was held.

Round Island, best known of the Walrus Islands, is one of a handful of major terrestrial haul outs for walrus in Alaska.

The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded the NHL designation in December of 2016 because the islands are among the few places that yield evidence of human settlement on the Bering Sea continental shelf while sea levels were significantly lower than they are now. Among the artifacts collected, are evidence that people hunted walrus in the region thousands of years ago.

"The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest honor that the Secretary of Interior bestows on our places of national cultural and historic importance," said Greg Dudgeon, who is with the National Park Service in Fairbanks. "The history of the Walrus Islands illustrates a significant part of the American experience... The archeology that's preserved out there in the landmark is the record of the development of your cultural traditions that go back over 6000 years in this region."

The Walrus Islands Archeological District is Alaska's 50th National Historic Landmark. The plaque will be placed on Round Island.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.