Savoonga, Alaska

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Savoonga

Sivungaq
Savoonga is located in Alaska
Savoonga
Savoonga
Location in Alaska
Coordinates: 63°41′48″N 170°27′39″W / 63.69667°N 170.46083°W / 63.69667; -170.46083Coordinates: 63°41′48″N 170°27′39″W / 63.69667°N 170.46083°W / 63.69667; -170.46083
CountryUnited States
StateAlaska
Census AreaNome
IncorporatedOctober 6, 1969[1]
Government
 • MayorMyron Kingeekuk[2]
 • State senatorDonald Olson (D)
 • State rep.Neal Foster (D)
Area
 • Total5.87 sq mi (15.21 km2)
 • Land5.87 sq mi (15.21 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total671
 • Estimate 
(2019)[4]
705
 • Density120.06/sq mi (46.36/km2)
Time zoneUTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
99769
Area code907
FIPS code02-67460
GNIS feature ID1409106

Savoonga (Central Siberian Yupik: Sivungaq; Russian: Савунга) is a city in Nome Census Area, Alaska. It is located on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. As of the 2010 census, Savoonga's population was 671, up from 643 in 2000.

Savoonga was incorporated in 1969. In 1971, it became joint owner of St. Lawrence Island along with the island's only other city, Gambell.

The local economy consists largely of subsistence hunting for walrus, seals, fish, and bowhead whales. The city calls itself the "Walrus Capital of the World". A dogsled mail service operated until 1963.

Geography[edit]

Savoonga is located at 63°41′48″N 170°27′39″W / 63.69667°N 170.46083°W / 63.69667; -170.46083 (63.696732, -170.460907).[5]

Savoonga is on the northern coast of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. It is 63 km (39 mi) southeast of Gambell.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), all of it land.

Most people on St. Lawrence Island speak Siberian Yupik, while some of Alaska's people are losing their native languages.

There are daily flights from Nome to Savoonga Airport, weather permitting.

Climate[edit]

Savoonga has a Tundra climate (ET) with short, cool summers and long, cold winters lasting from the beginning of October to the end of May. Average annual snowfall totals 69 inches (174 cm) with peak snowpack depth being 21 inches (53.3 cm) and occurring in April.[6]

Climate data for Cape Northeast, Alaska
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 48
(9)
43
(6)
48
(9)
44
(7)
53
(12)
63
(17)
68
(20)
66
(19)
57
(14)
50
(10)
42
(6)
45
(7)
68
(20)
Average high °F (°C) 15.0
(−9.4)
8.5
(−13.1)
15.1
(−9.4)
23.0
(−5.0)
35.2
(1.8)
44.6
(7.0)
51.8
(11.0)
50.5
(10.3)
44.4
(6.9)
34.3
(1.3)
27.2
(−2.7)
12.6
(−10.8)
30.2
(−1.0)
Daily mean °F (°C) 9.6
(−12.4)
2.7
(−16.3)
8.4
(−13.1)
16.6
(−8.6)
31.9
(−0.1)
39.8
(4.3)
46.9
(8.3)
46.9
(8.3)
41.3
(5.2)
31.5
(−0.3)
23.8
(−4.6)
8.3
(−13.2)
25.6
(−3.5)
Average low °F (°C) 4.1
(−15.5)
−3.2
(−19.6)
1.7
(−16.8)
10.1
(−12.2)
26.5
(−3.1)
34.9
(1.6)
42.1
(5.6)
43.4
(6.3)
38.1
(3.4)
28.6
(−1.9)
20.3
(−6.5)
3.9
(−15.6)
20.9
(−6.2)
Record low °F (°C) −27
(−33)
−36
(−38)
−32
(−36)
−16
(−27)
−4
(−20)
25
(−4)
32
(0)
32
(0)
24
(−4)
3
(−16)
−9
(−23)
−26
(−32)
−36
(−38)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.03
(26)
0.85
(22)
1.08
(27)
0.83
(21)
0.61
(15)
0.57
(14)
1.19
(30)
3.14
(80)
2.94
(75)
2.90
(74)
1.57
(40)
0.60
(15)
17.31
(439)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.0
(23)
8.4
(21)
9.9
(25)
7.9
(20)
3.2
(8.1)
0.3
(0.76)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.7
(1.8)
9.4
(24)
12.3
(31)
7.5
(19)
68.6
(173.66)
Source: WRCC [7]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930139
194020950.4%
195024919.1%
196029920.1%
197036421.7%
198049134.9%
19905195.7%
200064323.9%
20106714.4%
2019 (est.)705[4]5.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

Savoonga first appeared on the 1930 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. It formally incorporated in 1969.

At the 2000 census, there were 643 people, 145 households, and 113 families residing in the city.[9] The population density was 105.5 people per square mile (40.7/km2). There were 160 housing units at an average density of 26.2 per square mile (10.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.33% Native American, 4.35% White, 0.16% Asian, and 0.16% from other races.

Of the 145 households, 55.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.4% were non-families. 16.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 0.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.43 and the average family size was 5.22.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 36.1% under the age of 18, 13.2% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,438, and the median income for a family was $27,917. Males had a median income of $30,500 versus $29,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $7,725. About 29.3% of families and 29.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.6% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

St. Lawrence Island has been inhabited sporadically for the past 2,000 years by both Alaskan Yup'ik and Siberian Yupik people. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the island had a population of about 4,000 in numerous villages.

Between 1878 and 1880, a famine devastated the island's population. Many who did not starve left. The remaining population of St. Lawrence Island was nearly all Siberian Yupik.

In 1900, reindeer were introduced on the island and by 1917, the herd had grown to over 10,000 animals. A reindeer camp was established near present-day Savoonga in 1916. The village of Savoonga was established near the camp in the 1930s. Good hunting and trapping in the area attracted more residents.

Gambell and Savoonga received joint title to most of the land on St. Lawrence Island under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

Economy[edit]

As of 2013, 25% of the adults in the community had no jobs. Of those who did, 37% worked for the school system. Other jobs involved air transportation, fishing, and the oil industry.[10]

Education[edit]

Savoonga is served by the Bering Strait School District. Hogarth Kingeekuk Memorial School serves grades Pre-K through 12.

Notable people[edit]

  • Annie Aghnaqa (Akeya) Alowa (1924-1999), Yupik environmental activist, healer, and leader in health and justice advocacy for indigenous peoples
  • Edna Korth, she and her husband Heimo Korth are among the only permanent residents of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The couple have appeared numerous times in National Geographic documentaries, the Discovery series The Last Alaskans and James Campbell's 2004 book The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Directory of Borough and City Officials 1974". Alaska Local Government. Juneau: Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. XIII (2): 71. January 1974.
  2. ^ 2015 Alaska Municipal Officials Directory. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League. 2015. p. 139.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "NORTHEAST CAPE, ALASKA - Climate Summary". wrcc.dri.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  7. ^ Cape Northeast, Alaska - Period of Record : 7/1/1953 to 8/19/1969 Archived 2017-05-09 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ Garland, Sarah (2013-03-01). "In remote Alaskan villages, teachers struggle to make school meaningful". The Hechinger Report. Retrieved 2017-02-14. - Also published in The Atlantic

External links[edit]