Sunset over Barrow
Photo by: MarmotChaser, Creative Commons

Many praise globalization for ushering in many of the world’s new ideas. But with the birth of these new ideas, the old ones die away and eventually become a thing of the past. Even the people who used uphold to such ideas would forget them as well. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the city of Barrow.

The city of Barrow is the largest city in Alaska’s Northern Slope Borough. Barrow’s location situates it 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle by the Chukchi Sea coast, giving the area a cold climate that lasts even until the summer months. One of the most interesting things about Barrow is that approximately 60% of its more than 4,000 populace belong to the Eskimo tribe, called Inupiat Eskimo, who originally inhabited the area more than 1,000 years ago. The community was named Barrow in the 1800s by British Royal Navy men who found the area. Barrow is a modernized community and is recognized as a North Slope Borough economic hub, yet interestingly enough, their residents continue to rely on a subsistence lifestyle supported by fishing, hunting, and whaling for their community’s livelihood.

Like many of its neighboring Alaskan cities, Barrow residents exert a lot of effort in preserving their traditional culture not just for their future descendants but also for the benefit of curious tourists who visit Barrow. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Inupiat Heritage Center where visitors can learn more about the traditional culture of North Slope inhabitants and even purchase some of the native arts and crafts like masks, fur mittens, baleen boats, carved ivory, etched baleen, and parkas. There are also numerous tours of the area where you can explore the Barrow wilderness and see firsthand the tundra and bird species residing in the area.

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