Alaska Native Heritage at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

A carving of a face made of bone. The centerpiece is white and a carving of a man. The face is trimmed with darker bone that represents parka fur.
Traditional bone carving from Shishmaref

NPS Photo - Allyce Andrew

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is located on the traditional homelands of the Iñupiaq people of the Seward Peninsula in Northwest Alaska. The Iñupiaq are considered to be the first people to come across the land bridge (during the last ice age), with deeply rooted cultural practices and traditional subsistence hunting and gathering that is still a part of everyday life (Alaska Natives and Early People - Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (

The protection of resources within Bering Land Bridge National Preserve helps to support Alaska Native peoples subsistence lifestyles (Subsistence - Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) ( These activities include whaling, seal hunting, and fishing (including char, grayling, cod). Wild game from the tundra includes caribou, moose, grizzly, and muskox, as well as bird harvesting and plant gathering including berries. Communities continue to work hard to preserve and promote the cultural traditions that have made them who they are today.

Learn more about places with cultural significance including: Qamani: Up the Coast, in my Mind, In my Heart (What's in a Name?:Rekindling Traditional Inupiat Place Names (U.S. National Park Service) (

And read about Ear Mountain, where villagers from Shismaref use this geographical marker on their trips to and from Serpentine Hot Springs ( Ear Mountain - Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) ( and also about Serpentine Hot Springs today at: Bering Land Bridge Official Visitor's Guide (

Learn about remarkable Inupiat people from the past including: Sinrock Mary Sinrock Mary, the Reindeer Queen (U.S. National Park Service) (, the Reindeer Queen of the Seward Peninsula and Alberta Schenck (Alberta Schenck (U.S. National Park Service) (, advocate for indigenous equal rights in Alaska.

And watch this video about Ada Blackjack whose “resilience as an indigenous woman carried her home,” being the sole survivor of a 1921 Arctic expedition Ada Blackjack Rising - YouTube

Hear from local perspectives about climate change in the arctic Video (U.S. National Park Service) ( and through the “Observing Change in Alaska’s National Parks” Project Jukebox (Project Jukebox | Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program ( – including Roy Ashenfelter who talks about his growing up following the seasonal subsistence lifestyle and seeing environmental changes throughout his lifetime including sea ice, seals, moose, caribou, beavers, fish, permafrost, and vegetation.

VISIT the preserve's website at: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (

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    Last updated: November 3, 2021