2nd Class City
in the Northwest Arctic Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (kiv uh lee' nuh)
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Watering Point, School Water, Washeteria, Electric (AVEC), Volunteer Fire, Fire Hall, Airport (State Contract), Roads, Ice Roads, Bingo, Bingo Hall, City Office
Geography and Climate
- Kivalina is at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef located between the Chukchi Sea and Kivalina River. It lies 80 air miles northwest of Kotzebue.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- Kivalina lies in the transitional climate zone, which is characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. The average low temperature during January is -15 °F; the average high during July is 57 °F. Temperature extremes have been measured from -54 to 85 °F. Annual snowfall averages 57 inches, with 8.6 inches of precipitation per year. The Chukchi Sea is ice-free and open to boat traffic from mid-June to the first of November.
History and Culture
- Kivalina has long been a stopping-off place for seasonal travelers between Arctic coastal areas and Kotzebue Sound communities. It is the only village in the Northwest Arctic Borough region where people hunt the bowhead whale. At one time, the village was located at the north end of the Kivalina Lagoon but when BIA came to build a new school in 1905, they built the school on the camp site island, which is now called Kivalina. It was reported as "Kivualinagmut" in 1847 by Lt. Zagoskin of the Russian Navy. Lt. G.M. Stoney of the U.S. Navy reported the village as "Kuveleek" in 1885. A post office was established in 1940. An airstrip was built in 1960 using metal mattings. Kivalina incorporated as a city in 1969. During the 1970s, new houses, a new school, and an electric system were constructed in the village. Prior to 1976, high school students from Noatak would attend school in Kivalina and board with local families. In 1911, a discussion took place about relocating Kivalina to another site. Then again in 1953, relocation was put to a vote but the majority voted to remain on the current site. It came to a vote again in 2000 and the majority voted to relocate due to severe erosion and wind-driven ice damage. The public voted by election to move to a new site called Kiniktuuraq 2.5 miles away. Those plans fell through when several representatives from outside entities went to the site and deemed it inadequate for a relocation site. In 2011, the school district and representatives met with local officials to discuss the new school for Kivalina. They have until 2016 to construct the school. A site was selected based on the recommendations of the planners because of the time frame. An election was held in January 2012 to make the site official. Plans began for constructing an evacuation road leading to the new site, Kisimigiuqtuq, 7 miles North of Kivalina. Construction of the road is still in progress.
- Kivalina is a traditional Inupiaq village. Subsistence activities include bowhead whaling; hunting for bearded seals, seals, walrus, beluga, and caribou; and fishing for trout, salmon, white fish, tom cods and blue cods. Greens and berries are gathered from July through September such as wild celery, wild onions, ?sura? (green leaves from low bush willows), sourdock, wild potatoes (masu), tundra tea, blue berries, black berries, salmon berries and cranberries. Subsistence activities provide for 79% of residential food needs based on a survey done by Maniilaq Association (www.maniilaq.org). The remaining 21% of foods come from the local store. The community has nine whaling crews. The last whale that was caught was in 2000. Although beluga whales are listed as a staple, they are very difficult to catch. Their migration route has changed because of the Port Site ships that carry the ore. Kivalina has been experiencing climate changes for many years, and the warming temperatures have also greatly affected whaling activities.
- Indigenous Language
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Kivalina
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Kivalina is not connected to any road systems, and basic modes of transportation to and from Kivalina are plane, small boat, and snowmobile. The state owns a gravel airstrip. There is daily air service from Kotzebue and twice weekly service from Point Hope. A new road was constructed in Kivalina in 2009, which doubles as a rock revetment. A road to the town's landfill as well as a dirt road which lead to the airport are no longer in use due to erosion. Two main hunting trails follow the Kivalina and Wulik Rivers and another follows the coast north to south. Northland Services barges fuel, automobiles, groceries, household goods, and general supplies to Kivalina in July and August. Cargo is shipped in daily via plane from either Anchorage or Seattle.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection