Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Community members gather to share a bowhead whale, a crucial food source in the past and today.

Photo by Steve McCutcheon, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, SM00971.

Whatever happens, we are very much concerned that our people continue to provide for their families through subsistence hunting, fishing, and plant-gathering—That is how our forefathers lived; it is the way we live.

– Rachel Craig


Arctic Coast

Jana Harcharek

I am an Iñupiaq of Alaska’s North Slope Borough. As the indigenous people of that region, we have occupied an area encompassing more than 90,000 square miles and sustained ourselves on its abundant natural resources for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence shows that the Point Hope area has been continuously inhabited since approximately 400 B.C., although humans may have used the general area several thousand years earlier. People bearing an Iñupiaq technology were using local resources in the north Alaskan interior from about A. D. 1000 until well after A.D. 1300. Iñupiat continue to occupy the same area and utilize the same resources as they did centuries ago, living in harmony with one another, revering the land, the ocean, and all of its bounties. Continue Reading

Northwest Alaska

Rachel Craig

Our name for ourselves is Iñupiat (“real people”). The root of the word is inuk (“a person, a human being”). I am an Iñupiaq of the NANA (Northwest Arctic Native Association) region, which lies south of the North Slope. It is a varied environment, with forests, tundra, canyons, mountains, wide valleys, sand dunes, rocky beaches, and sandy beaches. Some of its people live on the coast of Kotzebue Sound; some along the river systems. All speak Iñupiaq, with varying dialects that reveal one’s place of origin. Continue Reading