Bering Strait from Google Maps. King Island circled.
The West became aware of King Island during late eighteenth century visits by Russian and British explorers (King Island Enters History).
Young Daniel Libby, construction supervisor on the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition, visited King Island in June 1867: Daniel Libby visits King Island, 1867.
A surgeon on the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear saw King Island in the summer of 1900 and reported that a third of the population, at least, had died that year when an epidemic hit a hungry population. He observed the relative absence of western technologies. See: King Island and the Great Sickness: the Terrible Summer of 1900.
William Van Valin visited in June 1912. He was a careful observer and spent a couple of days. His account has details of the methods used to catch birds, the processing and use of walrus, home construction, and King Island dancing: King Island, June 1912.
King Islander Paul Tiulana went to war in 1942, and came back without one of his legs (King Island goes to war). For much of the 20th Century the annual round involved travel to the mainland in the early summer for hunting, gathering, and wage labor, and a return to the island before the Bering Sea froze in the fall (The King Island Commute).
Artist Rie Munoz spent a winter as a teacher on King Island in the early 1950s. She based her children's book, King Island Christmas, on events during her visit. In 2003 a research team led by Deanna Kingston of the University of Oregon prepared for a multi-year anthropological, ethnographic, biological, and archeological documentation of the island and the islanders (King Island Christmas).
King Islander's still visit the island, and the village site. Here are some beautiful pictures from 2006: King Island Today.
King Islanders are part of the broader community of northern peoples, and presumably share some cultural characteristics with these peoples. The posts, "A Land of Milk and Honey (If You Know Where to Look)" and "Over-Exploiting the Arctic Animal Commons" deal generically with northern attitudes towards fish and game resources. King Islanders had little opportunity to use snowmobiles, but this post is suggestive of the adaptability of other nearby northern peoples when prices, costs, or available technologies changed: Sled Dogs to Snowmobiles.
Who owns the King Island culture: King Island Christmas Continued.