This is a reel of smiles that I compiled in 2008 while documenting village life in Ambler, Alaska.
Tucked between the Baird and Waring mountains, the Inupiaq Eskimos from Ambler, Alaska are undergoing a vast transition of culture as change comes creeping in. 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle, western ways are mixing with this Inupiaq village. English has nearly replaced the native tongue, time spent creating traditional crafts is usurped by television, snowmobiles now tread where dog teams used to run, and almost anything can now be ordered through FredMeyer.com-- even Netflix is flown in on bush planes! Other changes have larger consequences; technically a 'dry' village, alcohol and drugs are severely abused, causing deep problems at home which is reflected in low levels of education and high levels of sexual abuse. There are big trade-offs to life in the Arctic: beautiful isolation, freedom-ful neglect, challenging rewards and a life incredibly different than anywhere else. Then again, these are the smiles that never leave.
Full project funded with a Curtis Grant through the UNC School of Journalism.