Kivalina, or Kivaliniq, in Iñupiaq, is a coastal village situated atop two square miles at the southern tip of a narrow, eight-mile long barrier reef separating the Chukchi Sea from the Kivalina River. The barrier reef, which creates the Kivalliik Channel, was originally known as Sinigaqmiut, the channel place. By air, Kivalina is 80 miles northwest of Kotzebue.
Kivalina's economy is based on subsistence hunting and fishing. Traditional game include: bowhead whale; walrus; bearded seal; caribou; salmon; Dolly Varden trout; codfish and whitefish. Full and part-time jobs supplement the local economy. The largest employer in the village is the Northwest Arctic Borough School District. The second largest is the Native Store in Kivalina. Other employers include: the Red Dog Mine, which is located 52 miles east of Kivalina; Maniilaq Association and NANA Regional Corporation. The U.S Postal Service, regional airlines, the IRA tribal council and local stores provide additional jobs. A few residents have commercial fishing permits. Local artisans specialize in carving ivory and producing jewelry from caribou hooves and whalebones.