Chevak is a Cupik Eskimo village, located on the north bank of the Ninglikfak River, 17 miles east of Hooper Bay in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The village is sometimes referred to as "New Chevak" to distinguish it from "Old Chevak," a site on the north bank of the Keoklevik River.
Old Chevak, being prone to flooding, was abandoned in favor of the new site in 1950. The name Chevak refers to "a connecting slough," on which "Old" Chevak was situated. A federally-recognized tribe is located in the Cup'ik Eskimo community, the Chevak Native Village. The population, as of 2011 Alaska Department of Labor estimates, was 1966. Chevak has a maritime climate. Its location near the Bering Sea subjects the village to heavy winds and rain. Snowfall averages 60 inches per year. Freeze-up occurs at the end of October. Break-up occurs in June. Commercial fishing and subsistence activities, including the harvesting of salmon, seal, walrus, clams, and waterfowl, are an important part of the local culture.
The Chevak Catholic Community has its roots in the missions of Kashunuk and "Old Chevak." The Kashunuk mission was located on the north bank of the Keoklevik River, 9 miles east of Hooper Bay, and was dedicated to the Sacred Heart; but the people began to move from Kashunuk to Old Chevak in the 1930's because of flooding problems. A mission named for Saint John the Baptist was established in Old Chevak in 1935, and construction begun on a new church. Some of the lumber came from partially dismantling the former Kashunuk mission. The new church in Old Chevak was completed in 1937. Old Chevak, however, was also prone to floods, so the people moved again, this time a few miles upriver to present day "New Chevak."
In 1950 the new church was built in New Chevak and dedicated to the Sacred Heart, as was the original mission at Kashunuk. In the summer of 1982, the foundation for a new church was laid. The New church was formally dedicated on April 13, 1983 by Bishop Robert L. Whelan, S.J. Since then, Sacred Heart Church has had either resident priests, or visiting priests who came on a regular basis. In recent years, Sacred Heart has been served by deacons, parish administrators and visiting ministers of Subregion C of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of the Diocese.