“WE ARE TORN ABOUT OUR FUTURE”: Big Oil and Iñupiaq community health in Arctic Alaska

Chie Sakakibara, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


This chapter reveals how political and economic turbulence inaugurated by Big Oil manifest in rural Arctic Alaska at the expense of Indigenous health and community integrity. Cultural geographer Chie Sakakibara and Arctic Indigenous scholar and community health worker Rosemary Ahtuangaruak contextualize Iñupiaq modernity by exploring how the bowhead whale, a cultural and physical cornerstone species for Iñupiat, is entangled in the making of human health and well-being and, by extension, facilitates the “complex matrix of sovereignty in relation to extractive industries and fears for future environmental destruction.” In chronicling the history of oil industry development in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, Sakakibara and Ahtuangaruak illustrate how the cold water offshore contributes to contemporary Indigenous identities in Arctic Alaska and compellingly argue that it is “time for us to borrow animal voices.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCold Water Oil
Subtitle of host publicationOffshore Petroleum Cultures
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781000516623
ISBN (Print)9780367903930
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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