Point Lay is located on the Chuckchi Sea coast, protected from the open ocean by the Kasugaluk Lagoon. It is about 300 miles southwest of Utqiagvik. Kali, the Iñupiaq name for the village, means “mound” and refers to the elevated mound on which it stands. It is probably the last remaining village of the Kuukpaagruk people. The deeply indented shoreline prevented effective bowhead whaling and the village never fully participated in the whaling culture until 2009 when the first whale in 75 years was landed. The village’s traditional hunt of the beluga whales is similar to the bowhead whaling culture in other North Slope villages. Point Lay is incorporated as an IRA Native village by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Indian Reorganization Act. The village is not incorporated under state law as a municipality.
Point Lay has a population of close to 269 residents as of 2015, with a work force of 85 in 2014, according to the State’s Employment Statistics. Eighty-eight percent of the population is Iñupiat. Point Lay’s economy is primarily based on subsistence hunting, fishing and whaling with seventy-eight percent of the workers employed by the public sector.
Quality of Life
As in other villages, the North Slope Borough provides public electricity and water/sewer services. Free trash pick-up is also provided by the borough.
A health clinic, staffed by community health aides, is open each day and around the clock for emergencies. Other facilities include a cultural center, construction camp and a fire station equipped with fire engines and an ambulance. Point Lay’s Kali School provides education from pre-school through grade 12, as well as adult basic education.
The Native Village of Point Lay IRA owns the local store, which sells groceries and clothing. Available fuel in town includes propane, diesel and regular gasoline. Point Lay bans the sale, possession and importation of alcoholic beverages.
Passenger service to Point Lay is available by scheduled airline flights and charters from Utqiagvik. Freight is delivered by air and barge. Communications in the village include phones, mail, public radio and cable TV.
For recreation, residents enjoy snowmobiling, hunting, fishing and trapping.
Native Village of Point Lay
PO Box 59031
Point Lay, AK 99579
Phone Number: (907) 833-2575
Fax Number: (907) 833-2528
PO Box 59089
Point Lay, AK 99579
Phone Number: (907) 833-2705
Fax Number: (907) 833-2715