Photo Essay


kivalina #10

Kivalina is a small rural Alaskan village located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef between the Chukchi Sea and the Kivalina River. Due to land erosion, the village is one of many in Alaska that will eventually have to relocate. In 2006, an 1800 ft wall was built to protect Kivalina from the Chukchi Sea. That same year a storm with winds of 40 mph washed out 160 ft of the wall.

I visited the village in 2007. By this time, the villagers had enforced the wall with large sand bags. The sand bags are only a temporary solution. Kivalina is still waiting for funding to relocate or build a proper sea wall.

- What city do you live in? Which neighborhood?

Downtown Anchorage Alaska. When in kivalina with my uncles family

on the east side of the spit.

- What are some adjectives that describe your neighborhood? (Blue-

collar, hipster, rural, suburban, noisy, scenic, etc.)

very rural

- How long have you lived there, and what brought you there?

I lived in kivalina for about a month when I was a baby. my father

grew up there. it wasn't until 2005 when I went to kivalina for my

grand mother Ruth Adams funeral that I realized that i wanted to

make kivalina my personal project.

- What is your favorite thing about this place? Your least favorite?

The strong family connection. Every one up there is so nice and

welcoming. In one day you can be invited to about five houses for


My least favorite part about Kivalina would have to be the politics.

They need money to move the village or build a new sea wall and the

state isn't letting it happen.

- Do you feel that you belong there?

Alaska is in my blood and Kivalina put it there. I feel more

comfortable there then any where else I have been to in the world.

- What is the most common misconception about where you live?

That we live in igloos.

- What is a special fact about your city that you have to live there

to know? (IE: The Egg McMuffin was invented here, etc.)

The old native man on the back of the Alaska Airlines plains was

from Kivalina. His name was Chester Civic.

- What aspect of your city do you secretly love?

the cold.

2 responses

  • Jen Kirk

    Jen Kirk said (4 Dec 2008):

    This is so beautiful! Inspiring and moving...I love the way it is presented and the photography is breath taking.

  • Epin Hervin

    Epin Hervin gave props (17 Jan 2011):

    Thank you very much for great info & photo

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