Public Spaces in Kivalina

The cold climate in Kivalina forces the public interactions and assemblies to be held indoors.

1. The community center and Bingo Hall

The community center, located in the center of the village, is used in special events for public gathering (f.ex. Community meetings, or when a whale is caught for a feast), but also regularly for traditional Eskimo dancing classes. Next door’s Bingo Hall is owned and operated by the municipality, but was on suspension period during our stay. Normally, there would be bingo nights five times a week.

2. The Washeteria

The washeteria is owned by the City and provides public showers. The place offers inhabitants 3 showers (15 min cost 3$), 4 washing machines (one wash cost 7$) and 4 dryers (10$).

3. The school building

The McQueen school building was opened in 1978 but was renovated for 3 million $ in spring 2012. Thhe school is fully equipped with up to date infrastructure (f.ex. wifi internet connection). The internet connection of the school is faster than on any other spot in Kivalina, because it is distributed through Kotzebue. Currently there are approximately 130 students taught in the school. A lot of classes are multi-level classes, there is also a self-contained class and a self-contained kindergarten. The building has been running out of capacity, teachers have given up their working- and storage-spaces in order to provide more room for the students. The school also functions as the community’s on site evacuation centre.

4. The U.S. post office

The square In front of the post office, the only sheltered outdoor space in town, is the main gathering point for young people. Young people also go everywhere where they can access wifi, they would, as the former school principle describes “(…) sit on the stairs to the school even hours after the school is closed or wait with their phones in front of our house, until I plug out my internet, then they all disappear.”

5. The Tribal office and the City council office

The two public authorities of the village are located in the same building. On the first floor the IRA – the native tribal council – and on the 2nd floor the City office.

6. The Clinic

The clinic is said to be a complex of containers joint together. The clinic offers various services (health care is free for people of native origin, also birthcontrol pills and condoms are provided for free) – and even a flush toilet.

7. The Native store


8. The boys and girls club (sponsored by Teck, owner of the Red Dog Mine)

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