The History of Selawik

Selawik is located at the mouth of the Selawik River where it empties into Selawik Lake, about 70 miles southeast of Kotzebue. It lies 670 miles northwest of Anchorage. The City is near the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, a key breeding and resting spot for migratory waterfowl. It lies at approximately 66 36' N Latitude, 160 00' W Longitude (Sec. 20, T014N, R006W, Kateel River Meridian). The community is located in the Kotzebue Recording District. The area encompasses 3 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water.

Lt. L.A. Zagoskin of the Imperial Russian Navy first reported the village in the 1840s as "Chilivik." Ivan Petroff counted 100 "Selawigamute" people in his 1880 census. Selawik is an Eskimo name for a species of fish. Around 1908, the site had a small wooden schoolhouse and church. The village has continued to grow and has expanded across the Selawik River onto three banks, linked by bridges.


To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online


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