About Kotzebue

Kotzebue is a thriving community located on the Baldwin Peninsula in Kotzebue Sound, 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The majority of residents (over 75 percent) are Inupiat, descended from the first people to cross the Bering Sea Land Bridge approximately 10,000 years ago.

The site, originally known as “Kikiktagruk,” has been inhabited by the Inupiat for at least 600 years and was a trading center for many Native groups due to its centrally located position at the confluence of several rivers. Today, the village’s Inupiat residents primarily practice a subsistence-based lifestyle, an integral part of their day-to-day activities. In addition, Kotzebue has a healthy local economy. Both the public and private sectors continue to grow due to Kotzebue’s location, allowing the community to serve as a transportation hub for Northwest Alaska.

Sulianich Art Center

The Northwest Arctic Borough owns and operates the Sulianich Art Center in Kotzebue that allows artists to use the workshop space free of charge. The artists can then sell completed pieces on consignment or to the borough. All artists in the borough can utilize this resource, including KIC shareholders.

Please visit nwabor.org for more information.

To learn more about the Inupiat:

Kotzebue, AK


  • Population is 3,270+
  • Largest city in the Northwest Arctic Borough

Did you know?

  • Otto Von Kotzebue, a Russian sailor, discovered Kotzebue Sound in 1818 while searching for the Northwest Passage.
  • Kotzebue is a gateway to Kobuk Valley National Park and other natural attractions of northern Alaska.
  • Kotzebue was originally known as Kikiktagruk, which means “almost an island.”