Welcome to a photographic glimpse into the complex world of the Inupiat people. On the North Slope Borough land high in the Arctic Circle, the Inupiat continue their unique cultural heritage. Barrow is the northernmost city in Alaska, looking out over the Arctic Ocean to the north. February in Barrow is the time for the Inupiat to begin preparations for their spring whaling season.

NativeTech is fortunate to be able to share some photographs of traditional activities going on right now in 2006 at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska. Many thanks go out to Mary Sage for providing these wonderful images and her story, which truly demonstrate the knowledge, artistry and cooperation required for this work. These pages will grow to include more on this seasonís traditional hunting as it progresses.

Inupiat Tradition and Adaptation in the Modern World

"There are approximately 55 whaling crews in Barrow. Spring whaling usually starts in early May, and preparing for the spring season begins in February. We hunt for the bowhead whale, which are usually 22 to 60 feet long, and one ton per foot. Smaller whales are favored for their tender muktuk (skin and fat). From the whale, we eat the muktuk, meat, tongue, kidney, heart, flippers, tail, and intestines. We use the liver membrane for our traditional drums. We use the excess fat to feed our dogs in the winter. Our babies are given the tough parts of the flipper for teething. Nothing goes to waste. Our average quota for the bowhead whale is usually about 22 whales per year".
~ Mary Sage February 2006