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May 3, 2007

King Island (Image 1)

King Island (Image 1)

Clinging to near-vertical cliffs of King Island is the village of Ugiuvak. Built on driftwood stilts, the 18th Century huts had walls of walrus skin until milled lumber became available. [See related image here.]

More about this Image
King Island is located 1 mile west of Alaska (64°58200 3N, 168°05200 3W.) in the Bering Sea. It is about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) wide. A group of about 200 Inupiat (the Aseuluk) used to call the island their winter home, where they would engage in subsistence hunting. In the summer, they'd live on the mainland near the location of present-day Nome, Alaska. After the establishment of Nome, the islanders began to sell intricate carvings to the residents there during the summer. But by 1970, all King Island people had moved to Nome year-round.

Principal investigator Deanna Kingston of Oregon State University received a grant from the National Science Foundation's Arctic Social Sciences Program (OPP 03-28234), to conduct an in-depth interdisciplinary project on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) with the community of King Island. The proposed research will document TEK of King Island Inupiat (Eskimo), including research on the cultural geography and biogeography of King Island. This project not only fits into a growing literature on TEK, but also examines social science theory on place names, memory, cultural meaning and geography. In addition, Kingston plans on training young King Island community members, who are by definition from an underrepresented minority group, in social and biological scientific methods of data collection and analysis. In this way, she hopes to stimulate the interest of young Inupiat in scientific careers. (Date of Image: July 16, 2005)

Credit: Claire Alix, Alaska Quaternary Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

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