Resourcefulness is a way of life for Life Below Zero‘s Chip and Agnes Hailstone. The family’s lifestyle of survival and efficiency is informed by Agnes’ Inupiaq Eskimo heritage, which guides the Hailstones’ respect for nature’s resources and their love of their tundra home.
Native to Alaska, the Inupiaq people traditionally live subsistence lifestyles, hunting and gathering resources using traditional methods. Raising their seven children with few resources from the modern world, Chip and Agnes utilize traditional methods of gathering food and protecting their clan, making do with what nature provides them. “Subsistence is basically ‘do it yourself,'” Chip says. “When you’re subsistence fishing, you’re fishing for your own needs, your own food. You’re not buying it from a store, it wasn’t raised in a factory. This is the way to go.”
The Inupiaq live a nomadic lifestyle, and the Hailstones move seasonally to follow nature’s flow, chasing optimal weather, available materials and the best hunt. Chip and Agnes utilize every part of the animals they hunt, including skin, teeth and bones to make arts and crafts to sell. taking advantage of the rivers of fish and the herds of caribou that roam the tundra.
The Inupiaq also value reciprocity and sharing, as families will distribute their bounty with their neighbors. Not only do Agnes and Chip have to worry about caring for their seven children, but they also support elders in their isolated village, taking care of those who once cared for them. Chip and Agnes make sure to pass along their lessons in subsistence hunting to their children, teaching them the methods of living off the land so they can one day support families of their own.
Catch the Season Two premiere of Life Below Zero on Thursday at 9P.