High Tech I stood on a cut bank bright with autumn, the hoarse shouts of ravens echoing in the silence. Across the Kobuk’s clear, tannin-tinged flow rose a prominent, birch-spangled knoll; and beyond stretched an expanse of country, rising toward the looming, cloud-brushed pyramids of the Jade Mountains. This place, Onion Portage, known to the Inupiat as Paatitaaq (for the wild, onion-like chives that grow here), is marked by a great looping bend several miles long where the Kobuk reverses direction and almost circles back on itself before resuming its meandering westward flow. I lingered here as people have since time forgotten—not just centuries, but millennia according to the work of archeologist Louis Giddings. Roaming alone through the upper Kobuk in the early 1940s, Giddings, a researcher from Brown University, found his way to Onion Portage as so many had before him, following the river, drawn by the shape of…
Studying wood frogs requires first finding the tiny animals in the vast Arctic, then preserving their DNA while huddled in a tent.
As Alaska’s climate and habitat change, red fox are migrating north and pushing arctic fox out of their territory. It could be the end of the artic fox.
Cultural anthropologist and award-winning author Richard K. Nelson passed away in 2019 at the age of 77.
Kaktovik’s life on the edge
Reflections of a carnivore
Photos by Serine Reeves
Inupiaq woman’s podcast explores contemporary Native life
Bagging the greatest lightshow on Earth
[by Todd Salat]
The importance of the Porcupine herd to the Gwich’in people
[by Charlie Swaney and Peter Mather | photos by Peter Mather]
AS I SIT WITH GWICH’IN HUNTER CHARLIE SWANEY UNDER A CLASSIC BLUE CAMPING TARP, A RAIN DRIZZLE SILENTLY DRUMS ALL AROUND US.
Arctic Alaska’s mysterious stone walls HIKING ACROSS THE ARCTIC TUNDRA ONE RECENT YEAR, I happened upon an unusual array of rocks, unlike anything I’d seen in more than three decades of exploring Alaska’s diverse wildlands. Upon discovering the piled stones, two thoughts ashed through my mind. Who would build rock walls deep in the Brooks Range wilderness, many miles from any settlement? And why? I knew that during their nomadic days, the region’s Nunamiut Eskimos had in places built “stone guards,” called inuksuk, along caribou migration routes. Intended to mimic humans, the stone gures helped the Nunamiut steer caribou toward areas where the animals could be more easily harvested. But these rocky forms were totally different. Built along one edge of a wide valley bottom in the central Brooks Range, they had been shaped into walls, not widely spaced cairns. And those walls were far too low—from a few inches…