People

The Inupiat are the Inuit people of Alaska’s Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bering Straits region. They continue to rely heavily on subsistence hunting and fishing, including whaling. One important traditional ceremony still actively participated in is the nalukatak, or spring whaling festival. The capture of a whale benefits each member of a community, as the animal is butchered and its meat and blubber allocated according to a traditional formula. Even city-dwelling relatives thousands of miles away are entitled to a share of each whale killed by the hunters of their ancestral village.

More than 55 percent of the Nuiqsut workforce is employed in the private sector, mostly by the Kuukpik and the construction industry. The North Slope Borough employs 30 percent of the local labor force and the School District employs another 9 percent. Some residents sell local arts and crafts, including skin masks and boats, fur mittens, parkas and carved ivory.