Our Way of Living
"I heard my father say that Paul Okfew was the first one to settle in Port Graham. He had a barabara at the site of where the cannery is now. In 1912, my dad, Affanasia, and my older half-brother Nick Mumchuck moved here to Port Graham. They were the first people to move here to build cabins and settle" (as quoted in Stanek 1999).
Residents of Port Graham recently learned about an even earlier period of their village's history. In 1996-98, students and volunteers worked with archaeologists from the University of Alaska to uncover the remains of houses where ancestral Alutiit lived from about 1285 to 1485 A.D. The grandparents and great-grandparents of some of the families at Port Graham once lived in Yalik and other old villages on the outer coast of the Kenai Peninsula. The Port Graham Corporation, created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, owns land on the outer coast as a resource for the future, when people might want to return to their former territories.
Port Graham was home to 166 people in 1990. Its residents work in commercial fishing, logging, and other industries, but they also bring food to the table directly from the land and sea. Almost everyone helps to harvest wild resources such as salmon, sea mammals, birds, eggs, and berries. These foods are shared with Elders, relatives, and friends.