Meet the Hailstones – one large Alaskan family who all follow the Inupiat Eskimo ways of life.
Chip Hailstone, 43, and his native Inupiaq wife Agnes, 41, live with their seven children on Alaska’s Kobuk River, 19 miles north from the Arctic Circle. Their tiny, isolated town of Noorvik has a population of less than 700, most of whom are Inupiaq. Learning to hunt and fish at a young age, Chip traveled to Alaska 25 years ago to visit – and never left.
The family lives entirely off the land, in accordance with Agnes’ Eskimo heritage. They subsiding by hunting, fishing and gathering raw material, moving seasonally to track down the best hunt. Reliant on weather, available materials and the flow of nature, the entire Hailstone clan pitches in to help gather resources: hunting, fishing, skinning, tanning, and crafting the animal remains including skin, teeth and bones to make arts and crafts to sell. Chip weathers extreme temperatures to hunt for sustenance, venturing out in temperatures as low as -40°.”What can I say? It’s all about food,” Chip says. “The hunting’s about food, the fishing’s about food, the interactions with the folks around here are about food.”
In tonight’s Life Below Zero, Agnes departs on a hunt for Oogruk, Alaska’s largest species of ice seal, off the remote Kotzebue sound. The Hailstones hunt many kinds of animals, including bear, caribou, bison and walrus, and Oogruk meat and oil can serve as essential sources of energy for Hailstone clan in the cold of winter. With Chip absent and Agnes’ eldest children John and Tingmak going hunting in his place, Agnes brings along her eldest son, John, and eldest daughter Tingmak in Chip’s absence, catching Oogruk won’t be easy. And with the harsh winter climate approaching fast, the Hailstones can’t afford to go home empty handed.
Get to know Noorvik, the remote town the Hailstones call home:
Catch an all-new Life Below Zero tonight at 10P.