Nels Hedlund was a Yup'ik elder originally from the Bethel region of Alaska who grew up living a subsistence lifestyle and made his living off the land by trapping, hunting, and fishing. When he married Rose Hedlund, a Dena'ina Athabascan, he moved to the Iliamna region and they lived in Chekok, Pedro Bay, and Iliamna. Together, they raised a family by continuing to rely up their Native traditions. As a trapper, Nels had a detailed knowledge of the land and travel routes, and was an expert in Dena'ina and Yup'ik place names and history. When Nels was sixteen, he delivered mail between Bethel and Aniak by dogteam, and as a trapper became an excellent musher who developed a quality line of sled dogs specialized for the trapline and subsistence lifestyle. Nels and Rose bred and sold these dogs, now known as "The Hedlund Husky," many of whom went on to successful racing careers, and Nels also built dogsleds. Nels Hedlund passed away in 1991.