Cross Island, Beaufort Sea

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Cross Island is an Arctic barrier island, about 2 miles (3.2 km) long, and 12 miles (19.4 km) north of Anxiety Point, between McClure and Midway Islands, on Beaufort Sea coast, Alaska. The island was named by Captain Stockton, of the U.S. Navy, in 1889, who wrote "the island, though nameless, was marked by a wooden cross, from which fact it was called Cross Island."

Cross Island is used for Iñupiat subsistence whaling, especially by the residents of Nuiqsut. Subsistence whaling from Nuiqsut dates from 1973, when Nuiqsut was resettled. The village was re-established when the residents moved to the region from Utqiagvik (Barrow). Native traditions such as hunting (whale, caribou, fox, ptarmigan, etc.) and the making of native clothes and crafts continues, although the influence of modern society has reduced both need and interest in these activities to some degree. The traditional whale hunted by the whalers of Nuiqsut is the bowhead.

Bowhead whale jawbones are lined up on Cross Island in the Beaufort Sea near the whaling camp. There are 11 villages in Alaska that hunt bowhead whales during the spring and fall migration. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Cross Island.

Cross Island.JPG

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