The Native Village of Nanwalek is governed by the Nanwalek IRA Council consisting of an elected seven-member body. The Council consists of a First Chief, Second Chief, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Council Members.

Nanwalek is located on the southwestern tip of the Kenai Peninsula on lower Cook Inlet. The village is approximately 200 miles from Anchorage and is accessible only by boat or airplane. It is most closely located to Port Graham, Seldovia and Homer. The Native people of Nanwalek call themselves Sugpiaq meaning “real people”. Their heritage is strongly based in their language, subsistence lifestyle, cultural traditions and self-government. Their culture has steadfastly survived the Russian and later American impact on traditional lifestyles.