Umkumiut - Christ the King Church
1960s trip to umkomute 002


Umkumiut is located on Nelson Island's Toksook Bay. At one time, the village was inhabited year-round. Many years later, Umkumiut became a temporary tent village and was used as a spring and summer sealing camp for the people of Nightmute, a Central Yup'ik Eskimo village 20 air miles to the east. Though the village never had a resident priest ministered baptisms from the 1930's until the 1950's. However, some clergymen spent summer months in the tent village ministering to Umkumiut Catholics.


During the summer of 1969, a Diocesan priest built a church at Umkumiut. The church's unique architectural design was conceived by the priest and the plans were drawn up by a Jesuit Volunteer. The sum of $20,000.00 was donated by the Extension Society for the cost of building material while labor was freely given by volunteers. Building material was transported by barge and off- loaded on the beaches of Umkumiut. Archives at The Alaskan Shepherd describe the church architecture as “reminiscent of an ancient, many oared galley," appropriate for coastal peoples. The Archives goes on to say, "were it not so remote, many people would come to see its somewhat unusual but architecturally significant style." Actually, the priest interprets his design as "a modified A-frame tent, with exposed interior trusses which reminded people of the safety provided by an upturned skiff or eskimo umiaq."


The Diocese of Fairbanks' 1999-2000 Directory and Calendar records no active parish existing at Umkumiut and no priest or deacon has been assigned to the, once seasonal, parish of Christ the King.