Setting

The Sept of the Watchful Eye is located in the far northwest of Alaska. The sept lies on the edge of the Noatak National Preserve, north of Noatak itself. There are a few small local settlements - see below.

The sept consists of a small collection of buildings, beneath which lie the caern heart, several dens, and a series of hot-spring powered bathing pools.
Main Hall

This contains a meeting/dining area, a drying room, a kitchen and storerooms, an armoury/training area and a few working/craft rooms. There is also a small amount of accomodation.

Greenhouses

The sept has two reinforced greenhouses, with artificial sunlamps (and a bit of spirit help) where food and herbs are grown. They are kept locked most of the time.

Cabins

A number of cabins suitable for 4-6 people are built from wood and stone on site. Each has access to basic plumbing and generator-based power for heating and light.

Sweat Lodge

A traditional Sweat Lodge set slightly apart from the other buildings.

Caern Heart

The caern heart is accessed from the main hall. It lies underground as a small, egg-shaped bubble-cavern. One of the sept pathstones is set into the floor here, and there are shrines to all of the tribal totems and several other spirits.

Dens

A series of lupus dens near to and under the sept buildings.

Hot Springs

A series of hot spring powered bathing pools, including a changing area. There is no electricity here, only lanterns.

Hall of Hallowed Heroes

A low, stone-built building near the sweat lodge, containing both memorials and an indoor pool and shrines.

The caern is a Level 2 caern, and the caern totem is Bear.

Bawn

The caern has a bawn of hillside, trees, rocky outcroppings and small pools.

Ponds

There are a number of ponds and pools around. In summer their water is clean and clear. In winter, they are frozen, some totally hidden by snow.

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Noatak (Nautaaq in Inupiaq) lies 55 miles north of Kotzebue (and 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle). It is the only settlement on the 400 mile-long Noatak River and is located on the west bank. The village is primarily Iñupiat Eskimo and was offically established in the 19th century as a fishing and hunting camp. Native Iñupiat Eskimo have lived in the area for several hundred years. The area has rich resources which allowed the camp to develop into a permanent settlement. Subsistence activities remain the central focus of the culture and many families travel to fish camps at Sheshalik in the summer. Noatak has no city govenment and the current population is around 500 people. Citizens and the Indian Reorganisation Act Council make local decisions. Employment is also found in the local schools, stores, commercial fishing, the Red Dog Mine, and tour companies / fishing and hunting outfits.

Noatak is mainly accessible by air and water. Six regional air services provide cargo, mail and passenger services regularly, with small boats, snow machines and ATVs being used locally. Historic river trails are still used. Noatak currently has four general stores, a post office, community hall, and a village clinic operated by Maniilaq Association. Noatak also has a police officer and a volunteer fire department/search and rescue. The Alaska National Guard has a small armory and post in the city. Water is taken from the Noatak River and treated. A piped, re-circulating water and sewer distribution system has the capability to serve 90% of homes in Noatak, however over half of the homes cannot use the service due to lack of plumbing. The village has requested funding to upgrade and add plumbing facilities where necessary, and to construct a community washeteria. A new landfill has recently been opened west of the airport.

Kiana and Noovik are the next closest settlements, significantly to the south.

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Kiana is located at the junction of the Kobuk and Squirrel Rivers. The name means 'where three rivers meet'. It is a traditional Iñupiat Eskimo village dependent on a subsistence lifestyle. Chum salmon, freshwater fish, moose, caribou, waterfowl, and berries are harvested. The current population of Kiana is 391. It was settled hundreds of years ago as the main village of the Kobuk River's Kowagmiut Iñupiat Eskimos. In 1909, it became a supply center for mines along the Squirrel River. The economy depends primarily on traditional subsistence activities, but is becoming increasingly supplemented by a cash economy. The school, city, three general stores, Red Dog Mine, and Maniilaq Association offer most year-round employment. Seasonal employment includes work on river barges, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fire-fighting, and jade and copper ore mining. There is local interest in constructing a whitefish and burbot processing plant. The city is also interested in developing eco-tourism, involving guided river trips to the nearby Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. The major means of transportation are plane, small boat, and snow machine. Daily scheduled flights and charter flights are provided out of Kotzebue and other cities. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies each summer, and local storeowners usually have large boats to bring supplies upriver. Boats, ATV's and snow machines are used extensively for local travel. A road extends along the river for several miles, and a network of old trading trails exists. In the winter a road is usually plowed over the frozen Kobuk River from Kotzebue to Noorvik, then on to Kiana. The city has a mayor/council form of government, with an administrator and volunteer fire department. The city owns and operates the water project, refuse collection, airport and television utilities. A post office, armory, public safety building, two churches, and the Maniilaq Association village clinic are the main public facilities in Kiana.

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Noorvik is located on the right bank of the Nazuruk Channel of the Kobuk River and is downriver from the 1.7-million acre Kobuk Valley National Park. Noorvik, or Nuurvik in Inupiaq, is mainly an Iñupiat Eskimo community that participates in a subsistence lifestyle, depending on caribou, fish, moose, waterfowl, and berries for survival. The population of Noorvik is currently 636. Noorvik means "a place that is moved to." Kowagmuit Iñupiat Eskimo fishermen and hunters from Deering established the village in the early 1900s. Iñupiat from Oksik, a few miles upriver, also settled the village. Noorvik is one of the largest communities in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Subsistence is an important part of Noorvik's economy. The main local employers are the school district, the city, Maniilaq Association, and two stores. Seasonal employment at the Red Dog Mine, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fire fighting, or work in Kotzebue also supply income. Several residents commercially fish in the Kotzebue Sound and Kobuk River. Noorvik is accessible by plane, small boats and barges. There are no roads linking the village to other areas of the state. Noorvik's airport, the second largest in the borough, has a main gravel runway and a gravel crosswind runway. A new runway, access road, and other major improvements are under construction. Several regional air taxis provide service to Kotzebue and surrounding settlements. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies during the summer. Boats, ATVs and snow machines are common means of transportation around the village. In the winter a road is usually plowed over the frozen Kobuk River from Kotzebue to Noorvik, then on to neighboring Kiana. Noorvik has a mayor/council form of government, with a police officer and a volunteer fire/search and rescue department. The city has a post office, community hall, K-12 school, airport, several stores and churches, a Lions Club, armory, and a Maniilaq village clinic. Approximately two-third of all households have plumbing, and the remaining homes are in the process of being connected. A new landfill has recently been opened, and funds have been requested to construct a several new facilities, including a new washeteria, recreation center, Head Start school, day care center, restaurant, native crafts production facility, and a food processing plant.

Kivalina is an Inupiat community which has long been a stopping place for travelers between Arctic coastal areas and Kotzebue Sound communities. Three bodies and artifacts were found in 2009 representing the Ipiutak culture, a pre-Thule, non-whaling civilization that disappeared over a millenium ago. It is the only village in the region where people hunt the bowhead whale. The original village was located at the north end of the Kivalina Lagoon but was relocated. In about 1900, reindeer were brought to the area and some people were trained as reindeer herders. An airstrip was built at Kivalina in 1960. Kivalina incorporated as a second-class city in 1969. During the 1970s, a new school and an electric system were constructed in the village. Due to severe sea wave erosion during storms, the City hopes to relocate again to a new site 12 km (7.5 miles) from the present site. Studies of alternate sites are ongoing. Financing for the move, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is problematic. The city of Kivalina and a federally recognized tribe, the Alaska Native village of Kivalina, sued Exxon Mobil Corporation, eight other oil companies, 14 power companies and one coal company in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco February 26, 2008, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence. The lawsuit estimates the cost of relocation at $400 million. Kivalina has also sued Canadian mining company Teck Cominco for polluting its water source. Kivalina currently is on the tip of an 12 km (8 mile) long barrier island located between the Chukchi Sea and a lagoon at the mouth of the Kivalina River.

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As of the census of 2000, there were 377 people, 78 households, and 64 families residing in the city. 96% of those who live there are Native American. More than half of the households have children under the age of 18 living with them and the average household/family consists of 5 people. 26% of people are below the poverty line.

(Information gratefully taken from the Maniilaq Association Website and Wikipedia, and will be removed at once if requested.)

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