By Sverre Pedersen, Michael Coffing, and Jane Thompson

Excerpted from Alaska Department of Fish and Game Technical Paper No. 109, December 1985

In the not too distant past, there were households, now living in Kaktovik, which led a nomadic or semi-nomadic way of life over the entire North Slope. . . .The study focus thus has been on the community and community-based subsistence activities from the time Kaktovik was first settled in 1923 to 1983. . . .


Terrestrial subsistence resources such as caribou are seasonally abundant in the study area, but there are also times when they are nearly absent. The only big game found in locally abundant and predictable pockets are sheep, moose, and musk ox. In general, the species diversity and abundance around Kaktovik is not as great as that of other North Slope villages, particularly when compared to communities on the Chukchi Sea coast. The species and numbers of marine mammals found to winter in the Beaufort Sea are fewer than that of the Chukchi Sea (Alaska Consultants, Inc., 1983). At Kaktovik, ringed seal are available year round. However, bearded seal, bowhead whale, belukha, polar bear, and walrus are only seasonally available. Some wildfowl and raptor species are present in the area on a year round or seasonal basis depending on the particular species. Migratory waterfowl are seasonally abundant and play an important role in the local resource economy.

Among the economically important terrestrial subsistence resources found within the region are caribou (Pedersen and Coffing 1984). Animals of the Porcupine Caribou Herd sometimes calve in areas adjacent to Barter Island or in the eastern portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Central Arctic Caribou Herd is also found in the area, generally distributed in the western portion of the Refuge. Moose, musk ox, sheep, grizzly bear, wolves, wolverine, foxes, ground squirrels, marmots, and porcupine are found throughout the region.

Fish are also found throughout the study area. They may be located in most rivers and along the coast although a few rivers are reported to have no fish in them (Jacobson and Wentworth 1982). Larger lakes such as Schrader and Peter's lakes and larger coastal plain lakes near the Canning River drainage area also known to contain fish (U.S.. Fish and Wildlife Service 1982). Driftwood originating from the MacKenzie River in Canada is found on barrier islands, in bays, and along the coastline of the mainland. SUBSISTENCE RESOURCES HARVESTED BY KAKTOVIK RESIDENTS1

Category2 Inupiaq3 Scientific4


Common eider Amauligruaq Somateria mollissima King eider Qinalik Somateria spectabilis Black brant Niglingaq Branta bernicula Snow goose Kanuq Chen caerulescens Canada goose Nigliq Branta canadensis Pintail Kurugaq Anas actua Oldsquaw Aaghaaliq Clangula hyemalis Willow ptarmigan Aqargiq Lagopus lagopus Rock ptarmigan Niksaaktuniq Lagopus mutus Snowy owl Ukpik Nyctea scandica Birds' eggs Mannich


Arctic fox Tigiganniaq Alopex lagopus Red fox Kayuqtuq Vulpes vulpes Wolf Amaguq Canis lupus Wolverine Qavvik Gulo gulo

CARIBOU Tuttu Rangifer tarandus

MOOSE Tuttuvak Alces alces

WALRUS Aiviq Odobenus rosmarus


Belukha Qilalugaq Delphinapterus leucas Bowhead whale Agiviq Baleana mysticetus


Bearded seal Ugruk Erignathus barbatus Ringed seal Natchiq Phoca hispida Spotted seal Qasigiaq Phoca vitulina

Category 2 Inupiaq 3 Scientific 4


Arctic char Igalukpik Salvelinus alpinus Whitefish Arctic cisco Qaaktag Coregonus autumnalis Least cisco Igalusaaq Coregonus sardinella Broad whitefish Aanaakliq Coregonus nasus Round whitefish Savigunaq Prosopium clyindraceum Ling cod Tittaaliq Lota lota Grayling Sulukpaugaq Thymallus arcticus Chum salmon Igalugruaq Oncorhyncus keta Pink salmon Amaqtuq Oncorhyncus gorbuscha Arctic flounder Nataagnaq Lisopsetta glacialis Fourhorned sculpin Kanayuq Myoxocephalus quadricornis Lake trout Igalukpak Salvelinus naymacush Pike Paigluk Esox lucius Arctic cod ("tomcod") Uugaq Boreogadus saida Rainbow smelt Ilhuagniq Osmerus mordax

POLAR BEAR Nanuq Ursus maritimus

GRIZZLY BEAR Aklaq Ursus arctos

DALL SHEEP Imnaiq Ovis dalli


Arctic ground Siksrik Spermophilus parryii squirrel Alaska marmot Siksrikpak Marmota broweri Mink Itigiaqpak Mustela vison Weasel Itigiaq Mustela erminea


Coal Aluaq Willows Uqpik Driftwood Quruk Sod Ivruq

Category 2 Inupiaq 3 Scientific 4


Berries Blueberry Asiaq Vaccinium uliginosum Cloudberry Aqpik Rubus chamaemorus Cranberry Kimminnaq Vaccinium vitis-idaea Greens/Roots Wild Potato Masu Hedysarum alpinum Wild rhubarb Qunulliq Oxyria digyna Willow leaves Akutuq Salix sp.

1. This is a listing of all locally harvested resources used by Kaktovik residents in the 1970s and 1980s (Jacobson and Wentworth 1982; North Slope Borough 1979). Use of additional species, particularly bird and fish species, is known to occur from time to time. Consult with the community for definitive information.

2. The species categories are from source cited above.

3. Inupiaq names are from NSB (1978), Pedersen (1979), Jacobson and Wentworth (1982) and local residents in Kaktovik. The orthography used is that of the University of Alaska Native Language Center.

4. The scientific names listed here are from Armstrong (1980), Hulten (1968), Morrow (1980), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1982).


Kaktovik's current economy is a mixture of wage employment and subsistence activities. Households typically engage in both types of activities. Households require cash to pay for basic living expenses and to obtain equipment used to procure subsistence resources, such as snowmachines, boats, outboard motors, rifles, traps, ammunition, camping equipment, and gasoline. The wild resources provide food for the community and raw materials are used to produce goods such as mukluks, Eskimo masks, parkas, and baleen baskets. The craft items are sold to provide more cash which is funneled back into subsistence gathering activities.

Fish, fowl, and mammals taken by the Kaktovik community contribute significantly to the local economy. Peterson (1978) estimated that 85 percent of Kaktovik households obtained all or most of their food supply by hunting, fishing, and gathering. Locally harvested resources prevailed in the diet of Kaktovik households surveyed in 1981.

In 1982 over 92 percent of 369 north slope Inupiat households responding to a questionnaire still hunted and fished, and 86.5 percent reported that all or most of the meat they ate was obtained by hunting and fishing for locally available wildlife resources (Alaska Consultants, Inc. and Stephen Braund and Associates 1984). During 1981, caribou was the species which was reported harvested by the most respondents. . . .

The seasonal round of subsistence harvesting activities in Kaktovik . . . [has] remained stable over time since the establishment of the community, with one exception. The taking of bowhead whales did not begin until the early 1960s. However, whales may have been taken by Inupiat in the study area prior to the establishment of Kaktovik (Jacobson and Wentworth 1982).

Over the years as the community of Kaktovik has grown, residents have maintained their ties to the land. The same resources sought some sixty years ago when Kaktovik was first settled are still sought today though the emphasis on furbearer trapping during the mid-winter has decreased substantially (Pedersen unpublished field notes 1980/1981). Employment opportunities have changed over time and increased wage labor coupled with North Slope borough capital improvement projects have enabled residents to raise their material standard of living. Although technology has altered the methods used to procure local resources, subsistence caught fish and game continue to contribute in a major way to the local economy. Subsistence activities which contribute to a household's or community's economic well being are not restricted to working adults. Persons too young to enter the wage-labor market and individuals retired from the work force may make substantial contributions to a household's food needs. As experienced hunters and fishers teach the young the skills of hunting, fishing and gathering, the subsistence life-way is maintained in another generation of community members.


Overall size and location

The minimum estimate of the community subsistence use area for the period 1923 to 1983 was 11,406 square miles. Of this, about 23 percent (2,600 square miles) represents coastal and near coastal waters in the Beaufort Sea and 77 percent (8,900 square miles) represents the onshore terrestrial component. . . .

Comparison of overall size with other studies' findings

The minimum estimate for the community's use area is similar to information developed for Kaktovik in 1978 (Pedersen 1979) and the early 1970s (Inupiat of the Arctic Slope, Village and Regional Corporations, and the Arctic Environmental Information and Data Center 1974-75). On the basis of 11 biographies from individual hunters and their households, developed by Wentworth in 1978, Pedersen (1979) estimated that the minimum subsistence resource area for Kaktovik was near 13,700 square miles. . . .

. . . It may be that Kaktovik's defined use area has had the capacity to accommodate an increasing number of users because the area's resources were not fully utilized in the past. Additionally, the incorporation of imported food resources has likely tended to decrease the overall per capita harvest of local resources and , in that manner, also allow for increased participation. Another reasonable explanation may be that the key subsistence resources have been gradually increasing in abundance and availability within the defined resource area to match the increasing demand.

As mentioned above, the bowhead whale resource was not pursued by Kaktovik residents Until 1964. The addition of this large source of subsistence food, within a comparatively small geographic area already utilized for other marine mammals, may in part also explain why the local subsistence production area has not appeared to have increased over time despite the gradually increasing community population. Other explanations may exist. Suffice it to say that some form of relationship exists among local and non-local resource Availability, which leads to the appearance that the minimum extent of Kaktovik's subsistence use area has not changed appreciably for some time, at least not since the early 1970's.

Use area territorality

Kaktovik subsistence users can be said to occupy a definable territory within which all community based harvest of locally occurring renewable resources take place. The territory is defended and measures are voluntarily implemented to conserve and protect the locally available renewable resources in the face of rapid industrial development nearby. However, full recognition that the territory is not a closed self-sustaining system exists. A considerable effort is expended by Kaktovik residents to interact with private, state, and federal agencies as well as with other subsistence and sport users to protect their fish and wildlife resource interests, even those at a distance from their territory.

Kaktovik residents take an active interest in what goes on within and near their use area. This is well evidenced in the keen interest and concern residents have shown over issues ranging from oil and gas exploration in their whaling and caribou hunting areas to the passage of certain hunting and fishing regulations which apply to their area, as well as certain conservation efforts aimed at protecting the Porcupine Caribou Herd's habitat in both Canada and Alaska. The importance, socially and nutritionally, of the barter and exchange of resources between Kaktovik and other North Slope communities is acknowledged and it is clearly understood that the health of nearby, as well as distant, resource areas is of importance to keep the basis for exchange alive. The community is represented on the Eastern Arctic Fish and Game Advisory Committee as well as the North Slope Borough Fish and Game Management Committee, North Slope Borough Planning Commission, and a multitude of other forums. Residents of Kaktovik speak up not only for the resources of their area but also for the habitat. On many an occasion, they clearly indicate that they are territorial, in the sense that they defend their resource area as best as they can with the limited means available. A goal commonly expressed by community leaders in this connection is the desire to ensure that the option for people to live entirely off the land is preserved for all future generations.

Additionally, some resources occurring within the Kaktovik subsistence resource area are often "managed" by the local hunters. For instance, although Kaktovik hunters have in recent years had access to permits for 50 sheep annually, since this study began in Kaktovik hunters have taken about half that number of sheep per year (Pedersen and Coffing, unpublished field notes 1982 and 1984). The reason is not that people have tried and failed, but rather that hunters say the harvest of other resources has been sufficient. Therefore, the need to exploit the entire sheep allocation has not been necessary. As a consequence, some residents argue, sheep are now able to propagate more than if the allocation had been taken. Sheep are "money in the bank" for a day when they are really needed and in numbers perhaps exceeding the present annual harvest limit. The same reasoning applies to other resources formerly harvested in greater numbers than today, including bearded and ringed seals, ground squirrels, several species of fish, some birds, and polar bear.

Use area overlap with other harvesters

Kaktovik's community use area overlaps with that of only one other Alaskan community. Nuiqsut, a small community located about 200 miles west of Kaktovik, shares a portion of the use area located in the coastal region between the mouth of the Sadlerochit River in the east and Beechey Point in the west (Pedersen 1979). This is evidence that there are no strict, exclusive territorial boundaries between community use areas either. Information gathered, but not reported here, indicates that there is also an overlap in use area with the Canadian Inuit community of Aklavik in areas east of the international boundary (Pedersen and Coffing, unpublished field maps 1982 and 1983, Freeman 1976). There is, thus, both national and international overlap in community resource use areas in northeastern Alaska. A third overlapping use area is that of big game guides, their clients, and non-guided sport hunters, who utilize portions of Kaktovik's use area. This overlapping land use usually occurs without friction or incident. In fact, during the spring musk ox hunt, which is by drawing permit only, a few Kaktovik hunters act as transportation- providers to non-local hunters. Rarely, however, do local and non-local resource users meet in the field. The sport hunters are usually found in the mountains during early fall, before Kaktovik hunters begin to frequent the area (usually in late fall after the first few good snowfalls when snowmachine travel again becomes possible).

Factors influencing size and boundaries

To round off the discussion of community use area information, it is worthwhile to briefly consider an additional concept which helps shed light on Kaktovik land use. Jochim (1981:105) stated "the most generally valid statement [that] can be made is that niche width tends to vary inversely with subsistence security. Wide niches or generalist orientations may be increasingly advantageous as security decreases." In the case of Kaktovik subsistence, it is clear that a generalist orientation is, on the whole, in effect. Of locally harvested resources, the diet breadth covers over 50 recorded species and likely contains many more that are either uncommon or rarely taken. Add to this the foods available through inter-community sharing and bartering, as well as the imported foods available in local stores, and a rather wide niche, in terms of diet breadth, begins to take shape. Thus, indications are that, over time, subsistence security is low in the area exploited by Kaktovik residents. This is not really a new finding for the historical and archaeological records, for the area amply demonstrates that there have been dramatic cycles in the abundance and distribution of major subsistence resources in northeast Alaska, with resultant adjustments in the distribution and numbers of people in the area.

Overall, biotic productivity of northeast Alaska is also comparatively low. This generally leads to a scarcity of predators and broad predator niche--a small group of hunters utilizing a large resource area and a variety of resources.


Relative size and locations of each resource category

. . . Smallest of all community resource use areas, ranking 15th, is that used for walrus hunting which covers 651 square miles. The relatively small number of households (six in all) reporting hunting walrus is related to the uncommon appearance of walrus in the Kaktovik area. Walrus are only harvested by hunters if sighted while out in search of other resources during the ice-free season, and few have ever been taken. This is clearly reflected in the limited role that walrus play in the annual resource harvest budget--less than three percent per annum averaged for the period 1962-1982 (Alaska Consultants, Inc. and Stephen Braund and Associates 1984). Jacobson and Wentworth (1982) commented on the limited number of walrus that hunters in Kaktovik have taken since the 1950s.

The largest community resource use area is that used for caribou hunting. It covers 6,852 square miles of terrestrial and coastal lagoon/barrier island area, extends 180 miles along the coast, and goes as far as 70 miles inland. Nearly all terrestrial land use categories are contained within the caribou use area, notable exceptions being the sheep and small mammal resource categories. Caribou hunting takes Kaktovik hunters into a variety of habitats where they encounter a wide variety of resources except those which require highly specialized habitats.

Local participation in land use associated with caribou hunting is high, ranking second. That caribou play an important role in the local subsistence economy is an implication of this finding, which is supported by recent quantitative and comparative harvest estimates for Kaktovik residents. Caribou ranked third in terms of percentage weight contribution to the average village harvest for the period from 1962 to 1982 (Alaska Consultants, Inc. and Stephen Braund and Associates 1984).

It should be pointed out that size of a particular use area is not necessarily indicative of the contribution that the resource category makes to the annual subsistence economy. The resource category "whales" provides a good example of this. In this study, the community use area for "whaling," which largely focuses on bowhead whales, was estimated at 1,626 square miles, seventh in size among all resources. Yet whales, ranked first among local resources in terms of their average net contribution to the local subsistence economy in the period 1962 to 1982 (Alaska Consultants, Inc. and Stephen Braund and Associates 1984). On the one hand, whales are a good example of a resource harvested in a rather confined geographic area which contributes in a considerable way to the local economy. On the other hand, it is incorrect to conclude that the whales use area, because of the sizable harvest contribution it makes to the local subsistence economy, is the most important resource use area for Kaktovik hunters. Just because an area produces a resource that contributes significantly to the local resource economy over time does not mean that it necessarily does so over a shorter time period such as every year.

Subsistence harvesting of local resources is not a static system that year after year produces the same resource yields in the same place, at the same time of the year. In fact, it appears to be almost the reverse. Informants stated that rarely was the harvest level of even one resource for one household the same from one year to the next, and even more rarely would the resource harvest area be the same. Furthermore, it was stated that the set of resources harvested by a household would rarely be the same year after year.

Fishing is another good example of a subsistence activity which occurs in fairly small locales over a widely scattered area, yet is participated in by nearly everyone and which contributes much to the local economy over time. . . .

Fishing occurs in one large widespread and numerous smaller, discretely located areas, both along the coast and inland. Based on the ranking of the resource area, it would not appear to be overly significant in economic terms. However, the large number of respondents to this category indicates that there may be some greater significance attached to the land use activity than what is first apparent. Fish ranked second in volume of harvested resources in the time period 1962 to 1982, contributing 21.7 percent of the community harvest for the period (Alaska Consultants, Inc. and Stephen Braund and Associates 1984).

There is no simple generalization that conveniently describes the relationship between size of a resource-specific community land use area and its contribution to the local subsistence economy in Kaktovik. Similarly, the participation rate of hunters in the hunting or gathering of the resource in the community does not necessarily tell much about its economic contribution. The data necessary to permit such basic statements to be made are longitudinal harvest information. Even in the possession of these data, extreme care must be taken to avoid assuming that areas or resources identified as contributing in a major way to the total subsistence economy are the most important. There are several points worth considering that favor such a conservative approach. The first is that importance must be defined in terms that are culturally relevant. All too often, values assigned to the land and resource use among Inupiat hunters are not the same as those of the non-Inupiat managers or planners. If land or resource use decisions are made without considering culturally relevant factors, the outcome can have potentially grave consequences for those who depend on the resources. This serious problem is pointed out and discussed in a recent contract report to the Alaska OCS Office (Institute of Social and Economic Research 1982).

The second point is that community land and resource use dimensions change over time. Even though the current data base does not have much of a longitudinal component, relative to the history of the Inupiat, it contains some useful information on this matter. The taking of bowhead whales was not carried out in modern Kaktovik until the early 1960s (Jacobson and Wentworth 1982). There was considerable whaling activity in the area during the late 1800s and archaeological evidence on Barter Island indicates that bowhead whales were utilized by early inhabitants of the island (Libbey 1982). Temporal cycles in the use of certain resources may be much greater than what present data bases indicate.

One final point is that importance could justifiably be imparted on an area and a resource (or set of resources) which is (are) not utilized much under "normal" circumstances, but which actually provide the basis for household or community survival when other major resources categories fail. Dall sheep, some fish species, seals, and small mammals appear to be examples of such "emergency" resources. In fact, some Kaktovik hunters even consider imported foods in their local store as emergency food that could pull residents through a collapse in the availability of "normal" subsistence resources.


. . . Field observations on this matter failed to detect any household territories used for fishing. Even access to the smallest productive winter fishing sites along rivers did not appear to be controlled by households. Fishing sites could be used by all members of the community, regardless of household membership. . . .

Much of Kaktovik's delineated resource use area is used on an annual basis. There are households in Kaktovik which travel long distances away from the community to hunt and fish in the same places every year according to informants.

There is evidently substantial overlap among areas used on an annual basis by Kaktovik households. Some segregation between households in the extreme easterly and westerly dimensions was observed in the community biography. There appear to be no exclusive household territories and household use areas overlap considerably both over time as well as in time. . . .

However, one should not assume that areas used by only a few households are less important to the community. Though a household may be utilizing an area used by few or no other households, there is an existing resource distribution mechanism in the community which ensures that harvested resources are shared widely with other households in the community (Worl and McMillan 1982). Economic interdependence exists among households not only in the community itself but also in other communities. Some resources are shared or bartered to relatives or trading partners in distant communities as well. The circle of households, influenced by access to and the productivity of Kaktovik's use area, is thus widened considerably. Thus, management decisions made about lands or resources within Kaktovik's use area are bound to have effects that are felt by the entire community and across the entire North Slope region.

None of the household biographies collected were entirely unique; that is, each household shared some part of its area with another household. Thus, over time at least, there do not seem to be any exclusive territories among Kaktovik resident households interviewed. Since all households considered particularly active in subsistence activities as well as other perhaps less active households were interviewed, there is little chance that a separate household territory is to be found among residents. As this study did not investigate closely the interaction between households with respect to territoriality, the possibility does exist that some limited form of territoriality is practiced for certain resources at certain times. On the whole, however, it appears that the residents all share the same basic resource area, leading to greater subsistence security for the entire community. . . .

The observation that these areas sustain a considerable number of Kaktovik households must, however, not be equated with these areas being either the most intensively used or where the most important hunting, fishing, or gathering areas necessarily lie. . . .

Size of household areas

Analysis of the 21 household biographies reveals that there is a considerable variation in the size of the area and number of resources utilized over time. The smallest complete biography contains seven resource categories (wildfowl, fish, caribou, furbearer trapping, seals, small mammals, and vegetation), covers a minimum area of about 846 square miles, and extends mainly south and west of Kaktovik with a small nearshore component. The use area is concentrated on five river drainages west of Kaktovik (Hulahula, Sadlerochit, Tamayariak, Canning, and Shaviovik rivers) and extends up to 60 miles inland on some of the drainages. The largest biography covers a minimum of 6,000 square miles and contains 12 resource categories (wildfowl, fish, moose, caribou, polar bear, sheep, small mammals, furbearer trapping, whales, seals, wood, and vegetation). This use area extends 10 to 15 miles into the Beaufort Sea near Barter Island, follows the coast eastward well into Canada (extent not depicted), penetrates up to 70 miles inland to the south of Barter Island (along the Hulahula River), and extends over 80 miles westward along the coast to Tigvariak Island. The area is not confined to major river valleys, but covers the entire coastal plain and foothills provinces from the Aichilik River to the upper reaches of the Shaviovik River. This one household's use area covers over half (52 percent) of the minimum use area calculated for the entire community of Kaktovik.

The socioeconomic characteristics of the two households may be related to their use area characteristics. The first household consisted of an elderly woman with no direct dependents, whereas the second was a large, relatively young household which very actively pursues subsistence resources. Based on casual observations, the degree of dependence on subsistence resources was high for both households.


Place Names

The distribution of Kaktovik place names supports the finding that the community's overall land use area is quite extensive (as evidenced by the community land use maps). Not only are place names found throughout the land use area, but place name distribution extends outside of the line delineating the extreme boundary of community land use. These outlying place names may indicate that at some time community members traveled outside of the community's overall land use area. The names may be remnants of a time when people lived away from Barter Island in pursuit of subsistence resources or when extended trips were made in order to trade or visit friends. Know- ledge of these place names persists in the minds of present community land users. Expansion of the community land use area in the future, to include those known sites, would not be surprising. . . .

Place Name Categories

Names Which Describe Fauna or Faunal Activities

This category contains ten place names which refer to fish, game, or their habitat and subsistence activities associated with local faunal resources. For instance, sirraq ("place where polar bears come to cover themselves up with snow to have their cubs") identifies a place where polar bears often locate maternity dens.

Sallitchit Iqualuitch ("most northern fish hole") describes a popular fishing area on the Hulahula River which is the most northerly of the fishing spots located on the river.

Niaquqtuguiqsaagvik ("place where the heads are eaten for the last time") relates to an area located near Sadlerochit Springs. There, people traveling north to the coast would stop to eat the heads of caribou which they had harvested, so that the heads would not have to be carried all the way to the coast.

Names Associated with Particular Individuals

Some sites bear the names of individuals who at one time lived in the area. Often such place names indicate that a particular individual had a house or a camp at a particular spot, that a person's grave was located near the site, or that an event took place which involved a certain person.

Kisium Inaa ("Kisik's place") located in Foggy Island Bay is an old, well-known site once used for camping by the Wood's (Kisik) family, now living in Nuiqsut.

Patkutaq ("Paul Patkutaq's place") is a place name of a site located near the mouth of Nataroarok Creek where Paul Patkutaq, a relative of many Kaktovik residents, once had a house.

Pivsuk located near Kaktovik is named after an individual (Pipsuk) whose grave is located on this point. One legend has it that Kaktovik got its name as a result of Pipsuk's body being recovered by a seining net.

Names Associated with Flora

Five place names are directly related to flora. Gathering certain flora, especially wood or fuel such as willow, continue to be an important part of most camping activities.

Ninyulit ("place with cottonwood trees") on the upper Ivishak indicates a place when cottonwood trees are known to grow.

Uqpiuruuraq ("place of willows") is a place name given to a creek where many willows are known to grow.

Uqpiilaq Lake ("willowless lake") is the name of a lake located near a river having the same name and along which comparatively few willows are found.

Names Associated with Material Culture

Included in this category are names which refer to tools, ice cellars, sod houses, or activities associated with subsistence pursuits. This category was comparatively large, containing 31 place names.

Nullaagavik ("place to camp") received its name because it is a good camping place where there is an abundance of firewood.

Atchalik ("place with skin tents") is a historic site with at least six house ruins and, as the name implies, is associated with the occurrence of skin tents.

Names Associated with Historical Events

Though a small category, names included in this category are names which reflect local historical events. Itqiliagiaq ("on the way to Itqiliq") located near Sunset Pass in the Sadlerochit Mountains may be a place name which reflects a time when there was trade activity between Indians living inland and coastal Eskimo groups.

Names Associated with Mythological Events

This was one category for which the authors did not have a single place name. Additional and continued investigation into the history and origin of certain place names could result in both currently recorded place names and new place names being added to this category.

Purely Descriptive Names

This category is fairly general and contains names of which little can be said, except that they describe some physical features in a tangible manner. Names describing rivers, lakes, islands, topographic, and geologic features of the land and ocean environment are included here.

Paaqteagiik ("two rivers coming together") describes a place on the Kongakut River where two streams enter the river from opposite sides.

Kani ("end") describes a location on the upper Hulahula River where the river valley makes a sharp bend to the east, marking the southern end of the valley.

Suvilik ("flowing regularly") refers to the location of a spring near the Canning River which flows year-round and is the site of a hunting and fishing camp for Kaktovik residents.

Metaphorical Names

Seven names were placed in this category. Examples of metaphorical names included Igniq ("fire"). Located near the Sadlerochit Mountains, the Ignek Valley appears quite red. During Leffingwell's work in the area in the early 1900s, natives assured him that smoke was rising from this valley when their ancestors came into the area a few years ago.

Pattaktuq ("he, she, it is spanking") refers to a site near Demarcation Point where the shore is pounded by the surf which sounds as if someone is being spanked or slapped.

Qinaq, ("nose") is a hill located on the northern edge of the Brooks Range between the Sadlerochit and Hulahula rivers that resembles a person's nose.

Names Borrowed From Other Languages

Some names appear on the place name map which are not Inupiat names. Point Gordon and Point Hopson are place names of sites which were names for particular individuals but for which there is also no recorded Inupiaq name, thus, the use of the English place names. Beechey Point, another well-known site best known by this name, was once a prominent settlement and has been visited by many present-day Kaktovik residents. . . .