Indigenous peoples have inhabited the NANA region since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. The roots of today’s modern Iñupiat people stretch back more than 4,000 years, to people living along the coast (who subsisted primarily on sea mammals), and to those living inland (who depended on caribou). Over many generations, cultural values developed that were, in large part, sculpted by the unforgiving climate of the Arctic. These values continue to serve both the physical and spiritual needs of the Iñupiat.

New life was breathed into these cultural values during the "Spirit Movement," when they were identified by the Elders and codified under the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat program supported by NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. The name means “Iñupiat Spirit,” or “those things that make us who we are.”

The Spirit Movement is firmly rooted in the history of the region. As Iñupiat, we know the land is our home, and the movement formalized the deep spiritual connection we have to the land and all it provides.