Point Lay Case Study: Biographical Accounts of Prominent Community Elders

This second volume of the MMS-sponsored Point Lay case study complements the initial report with biographical accounts of three prominent community elders. The oral histories provide direct insight into the nature of social and sociopolitical life within and between Inupiaq villages along Alaska’s North Slope. Notably, in the modern context of concern about rising sea levels, Inupiaq people living along the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea have periodically been forced to move, rebuild, and/or repopulate their villages in response to storm events, tsunamis, and more gradual incursions of the sea. As expressed in these biographies, human adaptation to environmental change in the Arctic involves many challenges, and in the case of modern Inupiaq residents, meeting such challenges has involved attention to traditional wisdom and continual negotiation of new problems associated with contemporary forces of social and economic change.