Location and Climate
Sleetmute is located on the east bank of the Kuskokwim River, 1.5 miles north of its junction with the Holitna River. It lies 79 miles east of Aniak, 166 miles northeast of Bethel, and 243 miles west of Anchorage. The community lies at approximately 61.702500 degrees North Latitude and -157.169720 degrees West Longitude. (Sec. 25, T019N, R044W, Seward Meridian.) Sleetmute is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 99.5 square miles of land and 5.8 square miles of water. The climate in Sleetmute is continental with temperatures ranging from -58 to 90. Snowfall averages 85 inches, with total precipitation of 22 inches per year. High winds often cause flight delays in the fall and winter. The Kuskokwim is ice-free from mid-June through October.
History, Culture and Demographics
Sleetmute was founded by Ingalik Indians. The name means “whetstone people,” referring to the slate deposits found nearby. The village has also been known as Sikmiut, Steelmut and Steitmute. In the early 1830s a group of Russians built a trading post at the Holitna River junction 1.5 miles away, but it was relocated far downriver in 1841. Frederick Bishop started a trading post at Sleetmute in 1906. A school opened in 1921, followed by a post office in 1923. A Russian Orthodox Church was constructed in 1931 known as the Saints Peter and Paul Mission. Sleetmute Traditional Council is a federally recognized tribe located in the community. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the community consists of 86 people, with 76.74 percent of the population Alaska Native, or part Native. Sleetmute is an Ingalik Indian village, and subsistence activities contribute substantially to local diets. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 51 and vacant housing units numbered 18. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 2. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 21 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 27.59 percent, although 59.62 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $15,000, per capita income was $8,150, and 57.69 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
A central well with treated water and several individual wells are used in the community. Water is pumped by hand to fill gravity storage tanks at each house. Privies, honeybuckets and seepage pits are used by 27 homes. Eleven homes and the school use individual septic systems and are completely plumbed. A master plan has been completed to design alternative water, sewer and refuse systems. There is a landfill site southeast of the airstrip. In December 2001, a fire destroyed the building with the laundromat, clinic, offices and meeting hall, and satellite dish. A new washteria is under construction. Electricity is provided by Middle Kuskokwim Electric Cooperative. There is one school located in the community, attended by 17 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Sleetmute Clinic (907-449-4222) and Clara Morgan Sub-Regional Clinic (907-675-4556) in Aniak. Sleetmute 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: 94 (2017 DCCED Certified Population)
Incorporation Type: Unincorporated
Borough Located In: Unorganized
Taxes: No taxing authority
Sleetmute Traditional Council
P.O. Box 109
Sleetmute, AK 99668