Chapter 4 - Village Life
The Inupiat people have made use of the Kivalina area for more than 1,000 years. Known as the Kivalliñigmiut, they were semi-nomadic, traveling to the coast in the spring to hunt sea mammals and inland in the fall to hunt caribou. Kivalina’s first settlers lived in sod homes, which later were replaced by wooden structures.The village has a school, a general store, two churches – one Episcopal, one Society of Friends – a community center, a bingo hall, a post office, a health clinic and a washeteria, where people bathe. Most homes in Kivalina don’t have running water or indoor plumbing. Residents haul water from storage tanks at the center of town – water that is piped in from the Wulik River.Dietary dependence on subsistence resources varies from family to family, with the younger generation sometimes preferring food from the store, which stocks frozen and canned foods and staple items that are expensive. A case of water, for instance, costs $60. Some residents order their groceries online from Fairbanks.