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Wainwright is located on the coastline of the Chukchi sea about 72 miles southwest of Barrow. It is the third largest village on the North Slope, with a population of 584 people. Wainwright has an arctic climate with temperatures ranging from -56 to 80 °F. Precipitation is light, averaging 5 inches annually, with snowfall of 12 inches. The Chukchi Sea is ice-free from mid-July through September.

In 1826, the Wainwright Lagoon was named by Capt. F.W. Beechey for his officer, Lt. John Wainwright. It's Inupiat name was Olgoonik. The region around Wainwright was traditionally well populated, though the present village was not established until 1904. Alaska Natives comprise more than 94% of the population. The majority of the people are Inupiat Eskimos who practice a subsistence lifestyle.

The people of Wainwright are Inupiat Eskimos who rely on subsistence hunting based primarily on whales and caribou. A primary focus of subsistence is the annual hunting of bowhead whales. Whaling occurrs during the spring in Wainwright and involves hunting bowheads as they pass through open leads in the ice.

Alak School serves the community of of Wainwright, educatating students from kindergarten through grade 12, and is part of the North Slope Borough School District. For additional information on the village of Wainwright, see the community links section below.

Bane, G. Ray. and Laughlin, William S. 1966. Environmental Exploitation by the Eskimos of Wainwright, Alaska. Seattle: Environmental Protection Section, Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory.

Bodfish, Waldo; Schneider, William; Okakok, Kisautaq-Leona; and Nageak, James Mumigana. 1991. Kusiq: an Eskimo Life History from the Arctic Coast of Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.

Bodenhorn, Barbara A. 1989. The Animals Come to Me, They Know I Share: Iñupiaq Kinship, Changing Economic Relations and Enduring World Views on Alaska's North Slope. Thesis (Ph. D.) - University of Cambridge.

Bodenhorn, Barbara A. 1988. Documenting Iñupiat Family Relationships in Changing Times. Report prepared for North Slope Borough Commission on Iñupiat History, Language and Culture Commission and Alaska Humanities Forum.

Braund, Stephen R., et. al. 1988. North Slope Subsistence Study: Wainwright. Submitted to U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region. Prepared by Stephen R. Braund & Associates with Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, Anchorage ; Anchorage, AK: The Region.

Brøsted, Jens. 1975. Ulgunik: a Report on Integration and Village Organization in Alaska. Copenhagen: Brøsted.

Burch, E. S. 1998. The Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.

Ivie, Pamela and Schneider, William. 1979. Land Use Values Through Time in the Wainwright Area. Fairbanks, AK : North Slope Borough, Anthropology and Historic Preservation Cooperative Park Studies Unit, University of Alaska.

Kassam, Karim-Aly S. 2001. Passing on the Knowledge: Mapping Human Ecology in Wainwright, Alaska. Calgary : Arctic Institute of North America.

Luton, Harry H. 1986. Wainright, Alaska : the Making of Inupiaq Cultural Continuity in a Time of Change. Thesis (Ph. D.) - University of Michigan.

Nelson, Richard K. 1982. Harvest of the Sea : Coastal Subsistence in Modern Wainwright. A report for the North Slope Borough's Coastal Management Program. Barrow, AK: North Slope Borough.

Partnow, Patricia H. 1985. One Traditional Method of Seal Hunting: Breathing Hole Hunting, Wainwright, Alaska. Anchorage, AK: Indian Education Program, Anchorage School District.

Rex, Patricia C. 1994. A Settlement Study of the Village of Wainwright, Alaska. Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.) - University of Alaska Fairbanks.

From the National Weather Service
Climate summary from Wainwright

Sea Ice:
Sea Ice conditions for AK, images from the last 14 days
Clickable sea ice map from NOAA
Sea Ice forecast models for AK - 1 through 6 day forecasts

Village Corporation
Alak School
From AK Dept. of Community and economic Development