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This week, Inside USA travels to Barrow, Alaska, to witness the region's annual whale hunt.
More than 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Alaska is one of the most extreme environments on Earth.
Inupiaq - the indigenous people of Alaska's North Slope - make up 70 per cent of the population here.
Since the US bought the territory from Russia in 1867, Barrow's people have been on the frontlines of global politics.
In the 1950s, radar stations scanning the Arctic ocean for Russian bombers put the community on the frontier of the cold war.
In the 1970s, the largest oil field in the US was discovered nearby, putting the Inupiaq in the middle of the politics of energy.
Today, with the Arctic ice retreating, they are on the melting edge of global warming.
And in this election campaign, with both parties calling for offshore oil drilling, they are on the frontline once again.
In Barrow, the annual Fall whale hunt is about to begin. In a climate like this, hunting and eating whale is central to the community's subsistence.
But it is also a living tradition – something Inside USA learned pretty quickly when we showed up and the people of Barrow, with their famous generosity, let us into their lives.
This episode of Inside USA aired from Friday, October 25, 2008.