Kivalina is the only village in Alaska’s Northwest Arctic Borough region where people hunt the bowhead whale, a cultural tradition and dietary mainstay that has been severely hampered by the thinning ice. Once, hunters camped on the ice for weeks at a time; now, they stay only a few days and mostly look for whales that have strayed from the herd.
In any whaling community, the whale hunt is the main event of village life. Villages traditionally have identified leaders by their whaling prowess.
As a community, Kivalina hasn’t landed a whale since 1994.
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