Cup’ik Rule: Pairtesqevkenaku–Never go against the consensus of the people. Always work together once a decision has been made.
Located 15 miles east off the Bering Sea, Chevak is home to nearly 1,000. The village is on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, approximately136 miles from Bethel and only 17 miles east of Hooper Bay.
The word “chevak” refers to a connecting slough, where the original village was situated along – the Keoklevic River – eight miles west of where Chevak is now located. Due to storm tide flooding, “Old Chevak" was abandoned before 1950.
Though the village is in the Yup’ik Eskimo region, the people of Chevak, part of the Qissunamiut Tribe, are Cup’ik Eskimo – they speak a different dialect that is understood throughout the region.
Chevak has a maritime climate. It experiences high precipitation, with temperatures that range from -25° to 79° F and a winter snowfall average of 60 inches. The village sits on the north banks of the Niglifak River. Skiffs are used for local travel in the summer. In the winter, snowmachines are used and trails are maintained to Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay and Newtok.
In the summer the economy relies on BLM firefighting and construction jobs, but their incomes are supplemented by craftwork and subsistence; salmon, seal, walrus and clams are harvested as well as duck and goose.
Last May, Chevak was one of four villages being considered as a possible bypass mail hub by the US Postal Service. This will most likely mean an increase of jobs, predominately for infrastructure and airport upgrades. The current airport’s gravel airstrip is 3,200’ long and 75’ wide. If Chevak is approved as a mail hub, there could be economic benefits.