Several others are likely weighing options to move, said Christina DeConcini, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute.
"It's not going to be the last time that the United States has to deal with communities severely threatened by climate change and impacts and whether or not they can stay there," she said.
In Shishmaref, Tommy Richter, pastor of the Lutheran Church, the island's only church, said the community was torn over leaving its heritage behind.
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"There are people here who have been here for generations and don't want to leave at all," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The cost of relocation has been estimated at some $180 million, and authorities are seeking state and federal funding, according to local media.
Where to relocate remains to be decided, the clerk said. Two vacant sites on the mainland are being considered.
Relocation could take more than 10 years, according to a private feasibility study conducted for Shishmaref and published in February.
The island, which is seven square miles (18 square kilometers), lies five miles off the mainland. Its economy is based largely on fishing and hunting.
Scientists attribute coastal erosion in Shishmaref to global warming that has thawed sea ice that once shielded the island from storm surges. Its permafrost, the layer of permanently frozen soil on which it is built, is melting as well.
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The village already has moved several homes and a National Guard Armory away from its coastline and built sea walls that have had limited success, according to Alaska authorities.
In March, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced $6.5 million in funding to help Native American communities find ways to deal with climate change.
Since 2014, more than 140 tribes and tribal organizations have gotten government funding to help address the impacts of global warming, it said.
Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Thomson Reuters Foundation
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