Ishmael Alunik thinks that the reduction of the Tuyurmiat population was caused by diseases. He is probably referring to the measles epidemic of 1902 and the mumps epidemic of 1904 at Herschel Island (Whittaker 1976:109). About 60 people died along the coast during the measles epidemic (ibid.):
They used to be lots of them but when there was big flu there, lots of them passed away there too. These people were called Tuyuqmiat, they all speak like Siglit. Saȓuaq was one of them. There was him, Gangiiq, Louie Kaqlik and them, also there was Nauyaq and them. They had no more stores there when lots of them died then. That was then when they all moved to Kittigaryuit. When there was no one at Tuktoyaktuk then. (IA90-35A.3)
Excerpt from Nagy, Murielle Ida. 1994:28. Yukon North Slope Inuvialuit Oral History. Yukon Tourism, Heritage Branch.