Carrie Williams Qisiliaq Uhl

A woman is using a rounded knife on what appears to be a whale
Carrie Uhl

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
Iñupiat subsistence user and author
Place of Birth:
Kotzebue, AK
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:

Carrie Williams Qisiliaq Uhl was born in 1922 in Kotzebue, Alaska. She was from Sisualik, an Inupiaq settlement on the coast of Kotzebue Sound, within Cape Krusenstern National Monument. For most of her lifetime she lived in the country, away from town and any public services such as running water or electricity. Her family led a subsistence-based lifestyle, meaning they depended on hunting, fishing, and gathering to provide food for themselves and their extended family. She married William “Bob” Uhl, who was originally from California.

For over five decades, Carrie and Bob Uhl lived in rural camps. Summers were spent in a tent, and later in a tiny cabin, on the beach at Sisualik, where they were able to fish and hunt marine mammals. In the winter, they moved inland to a more sheltered cabin where trees provided wood for heat, a stream running under the winter ice provided water, and moose and caribou provided food. Carrie and Bob maintained a subsistence lifestyle at Cape Krusenstern for 54 years, beginning well before the establishment of Cape Krusenstern National Monument in 1980.

Along with her husband, she authored several pieces that influenced the formation of the parklands such as "Tagiumsinaaqmiit: Ocean Beach Dwellers of the Cape Krusenstern Area: Subsistence Patterns" and "The Noatak National Preserve Nuatakmiit: A Study of Subsistence Use of Renewable Resources in the Noatak River Valley.” She also played a vital part in her husband’s writing of the “Daily Observations from Sisualik,” a decade long journal series used extensively by the National Park Service and scientists as a primary source for data about many subsistence related animal and plant species and weather patterns in the area.

Carrie was an important part of daily life in Sisualik to many who lived and subsisted in the area. She kept a guest log and always had niqipiaq (Iñupiaq food) ready for those who stopped by for a visit.[1] She was a constant and welcomed voice on the CB radio and was well loved by many of the local children who treated her as an honorary aana (grandmother).[2] She worked hard to pass on traditions to all who had an interest in learning, including teaching skin sewing, seal processing, and cooking. Her legacy continues to influence National Park Service programs and understanding about subsistence lifeways and Cape Krusenstern National Monument.

Cape Krusenstern National Monument

Last updated: October 26, 2021