Rebecca Ellam


There are a lot of Inupiat tribes spread around Alaska in different places so there is no absolute location where they actually are. The Inupiat are found from The Norton Sound of Alaska to round about where the Canadian border is

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Inupiat villages and communities are located in Northwest Alaska, the North Slope, and along the Bering Straits. Climate change has now become a major concern for the Iñupiat tribes. Now that global warming has a great chance of causing disastors that will effect the Arctic. would have a really bad impact the Iñupiaq way of life.

Below is a small timeline of some of the important events that happend to the Inupait tribe.
1959- Alaska enters statehood.
1878- Salmon-canning industry started.
1912- Alaska Native Brotherhood founded the first modern Alaska Native organization.
1961- Alaska Natives organize to protest "Project Chariot" - a plan to use nuclear weapons to blast an artificial harbor into existence in Northwest Alaska.


The leader is not called by their actual name, but called an umialik which means boss or rich man if translated into English.


The Native people of Alaska are mostly unemployed or are seasonally employed instead of having permanent jobs. If you had seasonal employment you have to work away from your villages doing such things as firefighters, cannery workers, or construction laborers. The opportunities in getting a job are not easy in a Inupiat village, because you are limited to do such jobs as being a school maintenance man, a postmaster, a airline station agent, a village store manager, and possibly a school cook or teacher aide. Adults can also get money by selling fish, arts and crafts. They could also find seasonal employment away from the villages as firefighters, cannery workers, or construction laborers.

Trade: Some members of the tribe would go east for the trade fairs at the mouth of the Colville River and at Kaktovik on Barter Island. They did a lot trading with other Inupiat, Siberian and Alaskan Yup'ik, and Athabascan Indians tribes.
Below is a Map of the aboriginal trade routes of North Alaska.

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The mane person in charge was called the umialik, which in English means boss or a rich man. All umialiks and their wives were considered to be bosses in their own local families. To become a rich umialik you had to have a large local family of many active male and female hunters and skin sewers. The rich umialiks were very powerful leaders.
According to the history of the tribe, it is ok for Inupiat women to move into urban life. The problem is that the characteristics of traditional culture will be erased through the experience of living in an urban environment.

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Belief Systems

One of the traditional ceremonies that the Inupait tribe celebrate is still active today. The ceremony was the called the Nalukatak which means the spring whaling festival. They always do a lot of Traditional Inupiat drumming and dancing at festivals and gatherings. Children can also join in.
The Inupait celebrate Christian and national holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, and Independence Day. Most adult villagers considered themselves to be Christian they also like the beliefs of EuroAmericans.
Inupiat religious beliefs came from legends that have been passed down from generation to generation. One story that is very well-known story was told by an elderly Barrow. The story tells us about the nature of Inupiat religion. The story goes,
“Once there was a poor hunter. He always went out but never got anything. Finally, one day he saw a polar bear. As he crawled toward it over the ice, the bear said to him, "Don't shoot me. If you follow me and do what I say, I will make it so you will always be able to get whatever animals you think about." The bear told the man to climb on his back and close his eyes. "Do not open them until I tell you to." Then, the man and the bear went down into the sea a long way. "Do not open your eyes," the bear reminded him.

Finally, they came back up and the man saw an igloo along the edge of the ice pack. Then went inside and the man saw another bear with a spear in his haunch. The first bear said, "If you can take that spear out of the bear and make him well, you will become a good hunter." The man broke off the shaft, eased the spear point out of the bear's haunch, and the wound began to heal. Then the first bear took off his bearskin "parka" and became a man. After the wound was healed completely, the bear-man put back on his bearskin "parka," told the poor hunter to climb on his back and close his eyes, and together they went back into the sea. When the bear finally stopped, he asked the man to open his eyes. Looking around, the man realized he had been returned to the spot from which he began his journey. He thought he had only been gone a day, but on arriving home, he found that he had been away a month. From then on, the man was always a good hunter.”

In the Inupiat tribe they have their own calendar that has been the same for a very long time. Below is how their calendar goes and what it means if it is translated into English.

January - siqinyasaq tatqiq ------------"moon of the returning sun"
February - izrasugruk tatqiq------------"coldest moon"
March - paniqsiqsiivik tatqiq-----------"moon for bleaching skins"
April - Agaviksiuvik tatqiq------------- "moon for beginning whaling"
May - suvluravik tatqiq-----------------"moon when rivers flow"
June - irniivik tatqiq---------------------"moon when animals give birth"
July - inyukuksaivik tatqiq-------------"moon when birds raise their young"
August - aqavirvik tatqiq---------------"moon when birds molt"
September - tingiivik tatqiq-------------"moon when birds fly south"
October - nuliavik tatqiq----------------"moon when caribou rut"
November - nippivik tatqiq-------------"moon of the setting sun."
December - siqinrilaq tatqiq------------"moon with no sun"


Iñupiaq people have traditionally gathered their food from the land, sea, and sky. Families get their food from hunting, fishing which they depend on the most. The food that they mainly eat is fish. They would also go whale, seal and duck hunting and a few times in the year they would go to different types of camps depending on what month it was and what food was available. In July the men would go to fish camps. And later in the season, it would be the women’s turn. The women did not have such hard food jobs. Their job is to harvest large quanties of berries and other vegetable products that they came across.

Science and Technology

In the early days of the Inupiat tribes technological is very minimal. Slowly population of Inupiat grew and along with it the technology became better. The problem is that the growth of knowledge from one generation to the next is minimal.

Art and Architecture

Lots of adults from the town do art as a job to help pay for the things that they need to help them survive.


  • "Inupiat Heritage Center (U.S. National Park Service)." U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. <>.