Traditional Kivalliñiġmiut spring and summer dwelling site prior to 1905.

For generations, the Kivalliñiġmiut lived semi-nomadically throughout their homeland territory and moved between seasonal dwellings in anticipation of animal migrations, weather conditions, and proximity to regional social networks. Their winter homes along the Wulik and Kivalina rivers offered good fishing and caribou hunting to compliment they cache of sea mammal meat they would had preserved from the prior spring and summer. Each spring, families returned to the coast in anticipation of the bowhead whale hunt. Crews would make whaling camp up to twenty miles out from land, at the open lead, where solid ice met the liquid sea. In those days, the ice began to break up in June, bringing the ugruk (bearded seal) and eventually herds of walrus. The Kivalina People spent summers at several sites along the coast: it was a great time and place for beluga hunting, fishing, and gathering. During high summer, some members of the community traveled to the big trade fair at Sisualik, just north of Kotzebue. Fall time signaled the annual return inland to upriver dwellings and the renewal of this yearly cycle. Kivalina People continued this seasonal pattern until the U.S. Bureau of Education began a process of forced-settlement and consolidation at the current village site in 1905 (Source: Ernest S. Burch, Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska, 1998: 33-47).


Ernest S. Burch, Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska, 1998: 33-47
Michael Gerace