Published on September 21, 2012 by Amy
Point Hope is located near the tip of Point Hope peninsula, a large gravel spit that forms the western-most extension of the northwest Alaskan coast, 330 miles southwest of Barrow.
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Over ninety percent of the Point Hope, or Tikigaq population is Iñupiat Eskimo. Residents are highly dependent upon marine subsistence; seals, bowhead whales, beluga whales, caribou, polar bears, birds, fish and berries are harvested. This highly favorable site, with its abundant resources, has enabled the community to retain strong cultural traditions after more than a century of outside influences. The current population of Point Hope is 704.
Point Hope peninsula is one of the oldest continuously occupied Iñupiat Eskimo areas in Alaska; several settlements have existed on the peninsula over the past 2,500 years. In the early 1970s the village moved to a new site just east of the old village because of erosion and periodic storm-surge flooding.
Most full time positions in Point Hope are provided by Maniilaq Association and city and borough governments. Residents manufacture whalebone masks, baleen baskets, ivory carvings and Eskimo clothing. Three residents hold a commercial fishing permit.
The state-owned 4,000′ paved airstrip provides Point Hope’s only year-round access. Skiffs, umiats and snow machines are used for local transportation. Barges deliver goods during summer months.
The North Slope Borough provides all utilities in Point Hope. Water is collected from a lake six miles to the east, transported, and then treated and stored in a tank. A number of homes have water tanks, with a water delivery system providing running water for kitchens, while others haul water. Residents currently use honeybuckets. Point Hope has received funds to begin construction of a piped sewer system and treatment plant. The community wants a system providing household plumbing, flush toilets, and showers.