The people of the Kuukpik Corporation come from the Inupiat village of Nuiqsut, located on the Nigliq Channel of the Colville River Delta, about 35 miles from the coast of the Beaufort Sea. Nuiqsut was one of three abandoned Inupiaq villages identified in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Under ANCSA, Alaska Native communities with at least 25 families could form village corporations and claim entitlement to their traditional lands.

The Kuukpikmiut (“people of the big river”) formed the Kuukpik Corporation, and in April 1973, 35 families traveled from Barrow to create re-establish the village of Nuiqsut. Villagers still live off the land and sea, practicing the traditional subsistence lifestyle. The Kuukpikmiut hunt caribou, moose, birds, fish, seals and bowhead whale.