Kotzebue 4

Production Date: 
Circa 1972
Northwest Arctic Television Center; Dorothy Davidson and Joe Fisher on camera , during the second and third parts of the film, in the Nana Regional Corp. office
Rachel Craig
Run Time: 
KYUK-TV, Bethel, AK

Named locations: Nana Regional Corporation (which includes Kotzebue and the other ten villages that comprise the Inupiat Eskimo territory); Arctic Slope Regional Corp. (shown, not mentioned); Doyon Regional Corp. (shown); Bering Strait Native Corp. (shown); the eleven villages (Kivalina, Noatak, Kotzebue, Noorvik, Kiana, Selawik, Ambler, Kobuk, Shungnak, Deering, and Buckland); Kotzebue Sound; North Slope; Southern Alaska; Bering Strait
Major themes covered: The goals of Nana Corporation; Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971; subsistence (seasonal hunting and gathering); the eleven villages of the Inupiat
Eskimos; cultural and linguistic preservation
Native activities shown:  
Individuals Named: 
Dorothy Davidson and Joe Fisher, members of the Native American Video Documentation Team for, presumably, the Northwest Arctic Television Center; Rachel Craig.

Native language spoken: Eskimo (Inupiat)

Notes: "The NANA region is 38,000 square miles located in Northwest Alaska, most of which is above the Arctic Circle. The land we own and manage is roughly the size of Indiana. Vast and beautiful, our land encompasses eleven villages and is the place our people call home." [retrieved from: http://www.nana.com/regional]
"Rachel Craig's job is to preserve the traditions of her Inupiat people while helping young people acquire the skills to survive in the American culture of laws and corporations. She is director of the Material Development Center for the Northwest Arctic School District in Kotzebue. Her primary task is to develop school curriculum incorporating Inupiat language and traditions into state programs. She also helped organize the first Elders' Conference, in Kotzebue, as well as the NANA Corporation's spirituality-oriented Spirit Committee. She was born in 1930 in Kotzebue and reared in traditional ways — thus preserving her understanding and fluency in Inupiat. Now she is working to pass her knowledge on to younger people of the region." [retrieved from: http://www.alaskool.org/projects/women/profiles/acsw1983 /R_Craig.htm]

See also on AIFG: Kotzebue 1-3 & 5-8

Provenance: Rachel Craig, who speaks about the goals of Nana Corp., mentions that the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed in December of 1971. As the goals of the corporation still appear to be in their nascent stages, which can be gathered from the tone and caliber of the information provided in the film, this film must have been made only shortly after the act was passed.


  • Berman, Matthew. "Moving or staying for the best part of life: Theory and evidence for the role of subsistence in migration and well-being of Arctic Inupiat residents." Polar Geography, 32:1-2 (2009): 3-16. Print.  *This source provides a geographic perspective on Inupiat subsistence, as well as a sense of how subsistence has been preserved and transformed in the 30-40 years since the Kotzebue films were produced.
  • Burch, Ernest S. Social life in northwest Alaska : the structure of Iñupiaq Eskimo nations. Fairbanks: Univ. of Alaska Press, 2006. Print. *This source discusses the eleven villages and describes the relationship between the different clans and families that represent the different villages.
  • Craig, Rachel. "Rachel Craig is interviewed by Jean Lester on August 24, 1991 in Kotzebue, Alaska." By Jean Lester. Kotzebue: Faces of Alaska from Barrow to Wrangell Tapes, 1991. Audio Recording.
  • Sprott, Julie E. Raising Young Children in an Alaskan Iñupiaq Village: The Family,Cultural, and Village Environment of Rearing. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2002. Print. *This source is timely and Rachel Craig is mentioned with reference to the family structures of Inupiat peoples.
  • Williams, Maria Sháa Tláa, ed. The Alaska native reader: history, culture, politics. Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 2009. Print.
  • http://www.inupiatgov.com/
  • http://www.nana.com/
  • http://www.alaskool.org/projects/women/profiles/acsw1983/R_Craig.htm    *This link provides some valuable information about Rachel Craig and her background/work with Nana corporation. This website also works in the same vein as the Nana corporation, preserving and documenting Inupiatcultures, as well as other Native Alaskan cultures.
  • http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/Inupiaq/Ilitqusiat/
  • http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/NPE/oral.html    *The first few links on this page were written by Rachel Craig. They provide information about the proper etiquette for interviewing elders and the importance of tracing Inupiat ancestry as a way to preserve culture and language within the region of the eleven villages.
  • http://alaska.si.edu/culture_inupiaq.asp  *This site provides more information about Inupiat culture, language, and elders.
  • http://alaska.si.edu/culture_inupiaq.asp?subculture=Northwest %20Alaska&continue=1https://dcms.lds.org/view/action/ieViewer.do?dps_pid=IE64953&dps_dvs=1366150927366~736&dps_pid=IE64953&change_lng=en   *This page providesa map of Inupiat family structures as compiled by Rachel Craig.

--Emily Thomas, 2013