Situated 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow is the northernmost incorporated city in North America. With almost 5,000 population, about half of them native Americans, it is the largest Inupiat Eskimo community in the world. Barrow is the seat of government for the North Slope Borough, and serves as regional center for the sparsely populated 89,000-square-mile borough – the largest municipality on earth. In land area the North Slope is larger than the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania combined.

Barrow was called Utqiagvik by it its Inupiat founders, meaning The place where we hunt snowy owls. Because of its key location at the junction of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas on the Arctic Ocean, Barrow became an important whaling site. The town remains a center of subsistence whaling and harvesting of other land and water species.