Over 78% percent of Alaskans support exploration and production on the Coastal Plain of ANWR. Polling conducted in December 2009 by the Dittman Research Corporation shows that a vast majority of Alaskans support opening ANWR to oil and gas exploration.
The residents of Kaktovik, the only people living on the Coastal Plain of ANWR, support oil and gas development in their 'back yard'. Alaska's indigenous people have benefited greatly from North Slope production. In addition to providing a tax base for the local government, oil development has provided jobs, funding for water and sewer systems and schools. Native and village corporations with oil field-related subsidiaries are working on the North Slope, and the local government has a voice in permitting and environmental regulation.
Archeology has revealed that man has been an occupant of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for at least 11,000 years, but the history of modern man's existence there, dates to the early 1890's and 1900's. What is now the village of Kaktovik, the only village within ANWR, located on Barter island on the northern edge of the Coastal Plain, used to serve as an important stop for commercial whalers. The island was a key trading point and residents of the region came to rely on the ability to obtain trade goods there. In 1923, Tom Gordon established a fur trading post for the H.B. Liebes Company of San Francisco, which became the permanent settlement, the village of Kaktovik. Its people, the Inupiats, were a semi-nomadic people, moving from place to place depending on the availability of fish, fur, game and marine mammals. With the cessation of whaling for bowheads, in about 1910, the Inupiat experienced the first in a series of boom and bust cycles.