Published on October 15, 2010 by John
Location and Climate
Shageluk is located on the east bank of the Innoko River, approximately 20 miles east of Anvik and 34 miles northeast of Holy Cross. The Innoko is a tributary of the Yukon River. The community lies at approximately 62.682220° North Latitude and -159.561940° West Longitude. (Sec. 22, T030N, R055W, Seward Meridian). Shageluk is located in the Mt. McKinley Recording District. The area encompasses 10.6 sq. miles of land and 1.4 sq. miles of water. Shageluk has a cold, continental climate. Summer temperatures average from 42 to 80 °F, and winters can range from -62 to 0 °F. Annual precipitation averages 67 inches, with average snowfall of 110 inches. The Innoko River is generally ice-free from June through October.
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History, Culture and Demographics
Shageluk is an Ingalik Indian village first reported as “Tie’goschitno” in 1850 by Lt. Zagoskin of the Russian Navy. In 1861, a historian for the Russian American Company reported six villages on the Innoko. These were collectively called the “Chageluk settlements” during the 1880 Census. Shageluk became one of the permanent communities in the area. A post office was established in 1924. Residents of Shageluk moved in 1966 from a flood-prone location to a higher site two miles southeast. The BIA constructed 20 homes and a school at the new site. The city was incorporated in 1970.
A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community — the Shageluk Native Village. The population of the community consists of 96.9% Alaska Native or part Native. Shageluk is a Deg Hit’an Athabascan community that relies on subsistence activities. The sale of alcohol is banned in the village. During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 52, and vacant housing units numbered 16. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 45 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 27.42 percent, although 40.79 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $26,667, per capita income was $7,587, and 16.2 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.
Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care
Residents haul treated well-water and dispose of honeybuckets in pit privies or bunkers. Residents are dependent upon the washeteria for bathing, laundry, and water, since no homes are fully plumbed. The city provides water to the school and the washeteria. Electricity is provided by AVEC. There is one school located in the community, attended by 17 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Shageluk Clinic. Emergency Services have river, floatplane and air access. Emergency service is provided by a health aide.
Economy and Transportation
Employment is limited primarily to the city and the school. Summer construction projects provide seasonal employment. Residents rely upon subsistence activities; several trap and garden. Salmon, moose, bear, small game, and waterfowl provide food sources. In 2009, one resident held a commercial fishing permit. There is also a village store.
Access to Shageluk is by air or water. A state-owned 3,400′ long by 75′ wide gravel airstrip and a seaplane base are available. Locals use ATVs, snowmachines, and dog sleds. Every other year, it is a checkpoint for the Iditarod dogsled race.