Wainwright Population: 556 (2010 US Census Population)

There is a place far above the Arctic Circle where coastal bluffs rise out of the ocean and only a small peninsula stands between a community and the sea. In this place, our people have lived in the rhythm of the natural world since a time of most ancient memory, living in balance with, and depending on walrus, whale, caribou, and fish.

We call this place Ulguniq. In 1826, Capt. F.W. Beechey named the Wainwright Lagoon for his officer, Lt. John Wainwright. An 1853 map indicates the name of the village as "Olrona." Its Inupiat name was "Olgoonik." The region around Wainwright was traditionally well populated, though the present village was not established until 1904 and English name given when the Alaska Native Service built a school and instituted medical and other services. The site was reportedly chosen by the captain of the ship delivering school construction materials because sea-ice conditions were favorable for landing.

Here in Wainwright, a subsistence way of life continues and our Iñupiat people – descendants of the Kuugmiut (people of the Kuk River) and the Utuqqagmiut (people of the Utukok River) come together for Nalukataq, to celebrate the return of the whales and dance in the way of our ancestors.

When you collaborate with the Arctic Slope Community Foundation, you are investing in Wainwright. You are giving strength to everyone who lives here.

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