Nuiqsut is located on the Nechelik Channel in the North Slope Borough, about 35 miles from the Beaufort Sea coast. It was one of three abandoned Inupiat villages identified by ANCSA and was resettled in 1973 by 27 families from Barrow.

For 18 months the families lived in tents while housing was built, gathering wood for heat, hauling water for drinking and cleaning, and hunting and fishing for food. Makeshift classrooms were set up in tents. Religious services and community events were held regularly. Despite not having medical clinics, law enforcement officers and emergency services, life carried on much as it had in Barrow. There were no deaths from cold or starvation during the year and a half residents lived in the tents.

Housing and facilities were constructed by federal agencies in the summer of 1973 and 1974, and goods were hauled from Barrow by tractor. These original residents were the first to receive dividends from the oil companies in exchange for land use. Nuiqsut was incorporated 1975.