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North West Alaska

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Cate Currier

on 26 November 2014

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Transcript of North West Alaska

North West Alaska
Cate Currier







The borough has a total area of 40,762 square miles
35,898 square miles is land
4,864 square miles (11.93%) is water
By land area, it is slightly bigger than the state of Indiana. The population as of 2010 is 7,523

Geographic History
Geographic History
Geographic History
Native Alaskan History
Native Alaskan History
Native Alaskan History
Native Alaskan History
Native Alaskan History
European History
European History
European History
European History
European History
Regional Resources
Regional Resources
Regional Resources
Modern Demographics
Modern Demographics
Modern Demographics
Future of the Region
Future of the Region
Future of the Region
Iñupiat Eskimos have lived in the Borough for the past 10,000-15,000 years.

Qikiktagruk (Kotzebue) was the center of old Arctic Trading routes.

In 1818 the Kotzebue Sound was found by German Admiral Otto Von Kotzebue while sailing for the Russian Navy.

Most of the villages have existed for thousands of years, but some were developed as supply stations for gold mining.
Eleven communities are in the Norwest Arctic Borough.

Gambell whale hunt in 1972
Drying fish on a rack
Geographic History
Ambler, Alaska
Selawik, Alaska
Kivalina, Alaska
Buckland, Alaska
Kiana, Alaska
Renewable Northwest Project
The first Russians to enter Koyukon territory came in 1838.

When they arrived they found that items such as iron pots, glass beads, cloth apparel, and tobacco had already reached the people through their trade with coastal Eskimos.
Inupiaq and Koyukon Tribes





Rivers served as the main avenues of transportation in winter and summer. Athabaskans used birch bark canoes, rafts, or, moose skin boats.

Athabaskans relied on hunting and trapping animals, fishing, and gathering plants. They traveled great distances to find food. The changing seasons, the weather, and the behavior of fish and game had the biggest impact on their lives.

As Athabaskans traveled to hunt, they contacted other Native groups. This introduced trade. Athabaskans along the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers traded with coastal Eskimos.

During the early winter Athabaskans celebrated the success of their hunting and fishing seasons. At these celebrations they were brought together by family or friends and arranged marriages. They also socialized with others through trade meetings and gatherings to honor the dead. At these celebrations the Athabaskans feasted, played games, danced, sang, and told stories.
Athabaskans saw themselves as members of small local band and not as part of the vast Athabaskan culture. Each band usually had 25 to 100 members, but might have as many as 200. Each band belonged to a larger regional group that shared the same language and occupied a certain territory. A regional group had several hundred, to 1,000 people. This was the important group for selecting marriage partners. Families traced their ancestry through the female line in most Athabaskan groups.
An Ahtna Athabaskan camp on the east bank of the Copper River
The Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik tended to live in small groups of related families of 20-200 people.
They usually lived in an underground tunnel entrance below the living level to trap cold air. Or a semi-subterranean structure, using the ground as insulation.
Homes were usually made from sod blocks, sometimes laid over driftwood or whalebone and walrus bone frames, generally dome-shaped.
In the summer many of these houses flooded when the ground thawed, but most people had already moved to their summer camps.

Meals depended upon location and season of the recourse. Like whales, marine mammals, fish, caribou, and plants.
Whales and sea mammals were hunted in the coastal and island villages.
Salmon, cod, and whitefish were fished whenever ice formed. Along with herring, crab and halibut.
Birds and eggs were also an important part of the diet.
They believed in reincarnation and the recycling of spirits from one life to the next, both human and animal. Names of those who died are given to newborns.
Only if animal spirits are released can the animal be regenerated and return for future harvest.

The Inupiaqs used several recourses when traveling like:
The Umiaq/Angyaq; a large open skin boat. It is used for hunting whale and walrus, travel and bartering. It could carry up to 15 people and a ton of cargo.
The kayak, a closed skin boat, is usually for one person.
The basket sled; used for land travel. A flat sled is used for hauling large skin boats across the ice.
Snowshoes; used in interior regions.

This Inupiaq Eskimo winter house at Point Belcher is half underground
Woman's face, Inupiaq, Alaska
Alaska Historical Library, Lomen Brothers Collection.
Alaska has abundant natural resources; oil, minerals, forests, and fish are just some of them.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Alaska’s location has contributed to the role of the military and air cargo industry.
Another Alaska natural resource is its natural beauty that attracts tourists, bringing in income for the state.
The State of Alaska is extremely dependent on oil revenues, mostly from oil royalties and severance taxes which oil companies pay to the state.
UAA Professor of Economics Scott Goldsmith has estimated that about 1/3
of Alaska jobs can be connected (directly or indirectly) to the oil industry.
Red Dog Mine
Alaska’s economic future is uncertain.

There are positives, negatives and unknowns.

Positives include the potential for further development of Alaska’s large and varied resource base (oil, natural gas, coal, minerals, fish and forests), the growing value of Alaska’s scenic resources for tourism, the information revolution which is making it possible for companies and people based in Alaska to do business anywhere in the world, and the earnings of the Permanent Fund.

Negatives include declining oil production, the likelihood that federal spending in Alaska will decline significantly, and continued global competition from other natural resource producers.

We don’t know how resource discoveries, market prices, and political and technological changes may affect Alaska’s economic future.
An epidemic of smallpox had hit the Alaskans, causing many deaths in the villages.

In subsequent years, European infectious diseases drastically reduced the Koyukon population, who had no immunity to them.

In 1898, the Yukon Gold Rush brought more than a thousand men to the river.

They found little gold, and most left the following winter.
During early Russian occupation, northwest Alaska remained relatively untouched since the fur traders concentrated on the Aleutians and moved toward the Alaska Peninsula.

As early as 1649 the Russians had established trading posts at Anadyr, Siberia, and European goods were introduced to northwest Alaska by the people of Diomede, King Island, and Cape Prince of Wales.

Europeans wanted to find a water passage around/through North America that would be a faster route to the trade centers of Asia.
There was an increasing need for lamp oil and baleen. Lamp oil and baleen were both products of the great bowhead whales that migrated along the Alaska coast, so they brought in whaling ships and their crews.

Ancient Punuk carvings.
Old harpoon fitted with rope, foreshaft, and heads
Arthur Eide Collection
1772 map of the northwestern parts of North America by Robert de Vaugondy
Trade with European and American ships
Indians and Europeans on the Northwest Coast
Alaska and northwestern Canada, shows possible Northwest Passage
Whalers changed the Eskimos traditional life in another way by hiring them to work on their ships.
Men worked as dockhands and hunters, and women made clothing.
This employment shifted the annual hunting cycle.
The Eskimo hunted less for themselves while they worked for the whalers.
Instead of bartering one trade item for another they now exchanged their labor for trade goods.
Dangers of the Whale Fishery, 1820
Brown University archeologist is studying trade dynamics of native Alaskans in the Kobuk River region of northwest Alaska.
The Northwest Arctic Borough is very nicely positioned to expand its role in the state’s economy.
With declining oil revenue, Alaska needs an economic bridge until new technology can begin expanding production.
The state also needs to find ways to permanently diversify its economy.
The undeveloped mineral resources of the Northwest Arctic region offer a good opportunity to expand economic diversity and provide plenty of high-paying jobs in the very near future.
The Northwest Arctic Borough has many deposits of zinc, lead, silver, gold, coal, jade, copper, and other metals.
Several companies are actively exploring a number of prospects, with one company projecting mine construction in 2016 and operations beginning by 2019. Additionally, the Red Dog zinc and lead mine has been producing for years and continues to serve as an economic mainstay.
The borough now stands at a pivotal moment, looking forward to a very exciting economic future.
Alaskan Resources
At the year 2000, there were 7,208 people, 1,780 households and 1,404 families living in the borough.
The population density was 0.18 per square mile.
The racial makeup of the borough was 12.32% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 82.46% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.36% from other races, and 3.70% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
40.00% reported speaking Inupik or "Eskimo" at home.

Mark Begich
Lisa Murkowski
Alaska's senators
Alaska native owned corporation
A non-profit corporation, Maniilaq Association
A holding company that supports a diverse portfolio of Federal and Commercial service providers.
Modern Demographic
"The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) created both “regional” and “village” Native corporations.
There is a regional Native corporation for each of twelve Alaska regions.
Some of the regional Native corporations have become very large and profitable businesses with many subsidiaries in Alaska and other states.
Some of the most financially successful Native corporations, such as Cook Inlet Regional Corporation (CIRI) and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation have paid large dividends to their shareholders.
Others have not been as successful and have paid very small dividends. Even the most successful Native corporations have found it difficult to create jobs in rural Alaska."
-Gunnar Knapp (Professor of Economics)

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