Chuathbaluk is located on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 11 miles upriver from Aniak in the Kilbuk-Kuskokwim Mountains. It is 87 air miles northeast of Bethel and 310 miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 61.571940 degrees North Latitude and -159.245000 degrees West Longitude. (Sec. 10, T017N, R055W, Seward Meridian.) Chuathbaluk is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 3.5 square miles of land and 1.8 square miles of water. A continental climate prevails in Chuathbaluk. Snowfall averages 85 inches per year, with a total precipitation of 17 inches per year. Temperatures range from -55 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy winds can cause flight delays in the fall. The Kuskokwim River is ice-free from mid-June through October.
History, Culture and Demographics
Chuathbaluk was the site of an Ingalik Indian summer fish camp in the mid-1800s. The village has been known as Chukbak, St. Sergius Mission, Kuskokwim Russian Mission and Little Russian Mission. The village was often confused with Russian Mission on the Yukon, so in the 1960s the name was changed to Chuathbaluk, which is derived from the Yup’ik word “Curapalek,” meaning “the hills where the big blueberries grow.” The Russian Orthodox church built the St. Sergius Mission in 1894, and residents of Kukuktuk from 20 miles downriver moved to the mission. Tragically, much of the village was lost in an influenza epidemic in 1900. By 1929, the site was deserted, although Russian Orthodox members continued to hold services at the mission. In 1954, the Sam Phillips family from Crow Village resettled the mission, and were joined later by individuals from Aniak and Crooked Creek. The church was rebuilt in the late 1950s, and a state school opened in the 1960s. The city was incorporated in 1975. A federally recognized tribe is located in the community — the Chuathbaluk Traditional Council. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the community consists of 118 people, with 88.14 percent of the population Alaska Native, or part Native. Chuathbaluk residents have historical ties to Yup’ik Eskimos and Tanaina Athabascans. Subsistence is a crucial source of food, since employment opportunities are seasonal. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 43, and vacant housing units numbered 10. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 2. U.S. Census data for year 2000 showed 53 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 53.6 percent, although 41.1 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $34,286, per capita income was $10,100 and 24.06 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Water is pumped from a 105-foot well into a storage tank, then treated and hauled from this point by residents. A washeteria is available. The school has its own watering point, and some homes have individual wells, but none have complete plumbing. Honeybuckets and privies are used by most residents for waste disposal; a few homes have septic tanks. The school and clinic have a septic tank/leachfield system. The septic systems are failing due to clay and silt. A water and sewer Master Plan has been completed. Repairs to the pump house, water treatment, washeteria, school sewage lagoon and other components have been made. Refuse is collected weekly. Electricity is provided by Middle Kuskokwim Electric Cooperative. There is one school located in the community, attended by 29 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Chuathbaluk Village Clinic (907-467-4114). Chuathbaluk is classified as an isolated village, it is found in EMS Region 7A in the Yukon Kuskokwim Region. Emergency services, provided by a health aide, have river and air access.
Current Population: 118 (2008 DOLWD Estimated Population)
Incorporation Type: 2nd Class City
Borough Located In: Unorganized
Insurance Program Participant: Yes
Coastal Management District: Ceñaliulriit CRSA
Chauthbaluk Traditional Council
P.O. Box CHU
Chauthbaluk, AK 99557