The History of Chuathbaluk

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. It lies at approximately 61 34' N Latitude, 159 13' W Longitude (Sec. 10, T017N, R055W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 4 sq. miles of land and 2 sq. miles of water.

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 by 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.


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History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development