After more than a decade of legal wrangling, the go ahead has been given to Shell to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Point Hope, in the Arctic circle.
"They're going to scare everything away... that's our food."
Central to the Inupiat way of life is hunting and fishing.
Many of the people are still subsistence gatherers – the threat of an oil spill causes real anxiety.
Yet, they are a people adapting to the modern world, they use oil, they need money, Shell and fellow oil companies could provide the lifeline they need.
May Abdalla travels to the settlement of Point Hope, a remote Alaskan village in the Arctic Circle, to meet the Inupiat people and to learn of their fears and hopes of an oil-rich future.
(Image: Moose and Elk antlers Credit: May Abdalla)