Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Inupiat Eskimo Island Makes Endangered List

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” highlights one-of-a-kind historic properties that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development, or insensitive public policy. This year, King Island which was occupied by Inupiat Eskimo people known as “King Islanders” or “Ugiuvangmiut” made this list. King Island, located 95 miles west of Nome in Alaska, is in imminent danger of being washed into the Bering Sea. The Bureau of Indian Affairs closed the island’s school in 1959 which forced King Islanders to relocate with their children to Nome on the mainland. Today, the last surviving Inupiat Eskimo families are seeking to seasonally return to King Island. The King Island Native Corporation, which owns the land, is working to protect and rebuild the remaining structures.

In general, properties that make it on National Trust's list gain powerful awareness although it doesn't ensure that they will be protected. The list began in 1988 and 160 properties have been identified to date ranging from urban districts and rural landscapes to Native American landmarks and sports arenas.

For examples of artwork from the north, see Free Spirit Gallery Eskimo Art.

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