Yup'ik Eskimos and Aleuts jointly occupied the area historically. This Aleut village was first recorded in 1880 as "Oogashik." In the 1890s, the Red Salmon Company developed a cannery, and Ugashik became one of the largest villages in the region. The 1919 flu epidemic decimated the population. The cannery has continued to operate under various owners. The Briggs Way Cannery opened in 1963. The village has a small year-round population.
State of Alaska website
|Subregion Name:||Alaska Peninsula|
|Last Known Eruption:||1814|
|Summit Elevation:||1474 m||4,836 feet|
|The Ugashik-Peulik volcanic complex lies south of Becharof Lake and east of Upper Ugashik Lake. Late-Pleistocene caldera formation at Ugashik volcano was followed by the emplacement of at least 5 Holocene lava domes within the 4.5-km-wide caldera. Most of the caldera walls consist of basement sandstones of Jurassic age. Following caldera formation the small, 3 cu km Peulik stratovolcano grew 2.5 km to the north to a height of 1474 m, more than 500 m above that of Ugashik. Lava flows from Peulik cover the caldera rim to the south and extend to Becharof Lake, 6 km to the north. A small lava dome at 1200 m elevation on the east flank of Peulik was the source of a small block-and-ash flow. The summit of Peulik volcano contains a 1.5-km-wide crater breached to the west that is partially filled by a lava dome. Debris-avalanche deposits cover a 75 sq km area to the NW. A single documented historical eruption took place from Peulik volcano in 1814.|
Our Family Roots
The Ugashik region has attracted settlement for centuries because of its rich food resources. Archaeological sites near the Ugashik Lakes tell us that people lived there as long as 9,000 years ago. Native men hunted great numbers of birds, caribou, and bear, in addition to fishing and hunting seals, walrus and beluga whales in Bristol Bay. In fact, William Fisher collected a beluga whaling point during his visit to Ugashik in 1885, as well as carvings made of walrus ivory. Women dried fish, trapped small animals like ground squirrels, collected berries, and prepared plant foods. Hunters also traveled across the mountains to the Pacific coast of the Alaska Peninsula for trade and to hunt sea otters.
When the Russians came, both Yup’ik and Alutiiq people were living at Ugashik village. In the early 1800’s, Yupiit had migrated from lands in western Alaska to the eastern shore of Bristol Bay. Some of them settled at Ugashik, others at Paugvik (Naknek). Like people in other villages, Ugashik men and women worked in the fur trade. Men hunted the valuable sea otter for the Russians and Americans who then traded these furs to China. Women prepared food and clothing for the hunters and their families. However, trade in furs declined by the late 1890’s, largely due to over-hunting. At this point, the salmon salteries and canneries located along the Ugashik River provided families with more cash than the fur trade.