More than 7,500 people call the NANA region home. Of these, more than 85 percent of the region’s residents are Iñupiat, descendants of the people who settled the region thousands of years ago. Subsistence plays a key role in the lives of NANA’s people. For centuries, they have relied on hunting and fishing. Most families in the region participate in subsistence activities and full-time or part-time employment.
In addition to being an economic necessity, subsistence plays a strong cultural and social role in the lives of the Iñupiat. Preservation of subsistence resources is vital to maintaining their cultural identity and values.
Comprised of 11 villages, the NANA region is a vast, beautiful 38,000 square miles of terrain located in Northwest Alaska. The region’s borders coincide with the Northwest Arctic Borough, the region’s primary governing body, and cover a landmass that is roughly the size of the state of Indiana. As a corporation, NANA manages the surface and subsurface rights of approximately 2.2 million acres of land in the region to the benefit of its more than 13,800 Iñupiat shareholders.
Distinct from other areas of Alaska, most of the NANA region is located above the Arctic Circle and does not receive much precipitation. Winter lasts nine months and temperatures often stay well below freezing during that time. Rivers traverse through the landscape and the terrain vary dramatically from mountains and sand dunes to tundra and boreal forests. Much of the region is designated as national parkland.