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Chip and Agnes Hailstone

Chip and Agnes Hailstone outside their home in Noorvik, Alaska.

Agnes and Chip Hailstone (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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Chip Hailstone and his native Inupiaq wife Agnes live with their seven children on the Kobuk River in the North West of Alaska. Chip came to visit Alaska 25 years ago from Kalispell, Montana and he never left. He did not plan to stay, but the opportunity to hunt appealed to Chip.

Chip could easily relate to this lifestyle because he grew up hunting and fishing. Chip is a skilled hunter and uses his antique rifle, a 12-gauge, .22, bow and arrow, and even rocks or his bare hands to make a kill. Chip calls guns his tools and hunting his way of life. The material he needs to make a living is in his surrounding environment.

For the past 20 years Chip has been hunting, fishing, and gathering raw material. Chip’s motto is, live for the day but plan for tomorrow. He goes into each day with his eyes wide open. Death is a large part of his life, but Chip says he is not afraid. Worrying is the first step to protecting himself. Everyday Chip takes a calculated risk. Part of living off the land is being ready, going with nature’s flow, weather, and available materials.

Chip’s family moves seasonally to track down the best hunt, setting up tents in the snow or on the ice, and each of them plays an active role in keeping the family alive: hunting, fishing, skinning, tanning, and crafting the animal remains to trade and barter. They hunt bear, caribou, bison, wolf, fox, wolverine, walrus, fish, waterfowl, even whale and seal. They use the entire animal that they harvest including skin, teeth and bones to make arts and crafts to sell. Chip is happy to have stumbled his way into this world. He first came as an outsider. Now, this is Chip’s home.

Dive Deeper:

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 

Chip and Agnes Hailstone's Life Demands Resourcefulness

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 
373 comments
Dee Bayliss
Dee Bayliss

Chip and Agnes. You are our favorites on the show.  Unless you live the life you guys do, a lot of people don't realize that killing animals for food is a way of  life. Perhaps those people should not be watching the show if it bothers them. Keep doing what you are doing. Your children seem very polite and responsible. 

C J
C J

I just discovered the show, and wanted to say how lovely your family is, inside & out. Although that's definitely not the life for me :-), I think the values, self-sufficiency & confidence both of you are passing along to your kids is wonderful to see.

steven jones
steven jones

Frank.... Did you not claim that all posters were experts...at least in your opinion?


...and of course, not having any validity to their posts due to living in the parent's basement?


Come upstairs and look around. There is a real world outside awaiting you to face reality. 


Ed...I love what you do for us. Aside from the occasional humor presented here. I have hopes that your family is doing well, you're making progress on the legal issues and know that many of us are cheering you on from behind the rift. NEVER QUIT.

Frank Lester
Frank Lester

I just watch the show where mother & daughters hunt caribou ( in the spring, no less, when cows are prepping to give birth).

What a mess!

Wounding animals. two (very poor) shooters with scoped rifles (one assault, one Russian Sniper).

It is better for all  if you all take up knitting and give up hunting!

With all the welfare payments you get from the State and Feds, you can afford to buy all your food.

steven jones
steven jones

Well there you have it. Thanks, Zippy for making my point earlier. It  doesn't take much of an education to see that what the Hailstone's are providing is true knowledge and its application to daily choices....Wisdom. 

Nice to see some input from persons that have both experience and learning. Primitive cultures(if i may call it that) have substantial lessons to learn... If we could just open our minds. Personally, it has been my experience that many of the "kids" that leave home and benefit from formal education rarely return to their former cultures to provide the benefit. It does happen, but not as often as hoped for. Good post.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER..

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Happy New Year Hailstones, God bless you, your family and community! To G. Loveland and others like her, Your supposed intelligence needs to have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence along with cultural understanding . My partner and I have 8 university degrees between us, one of us is a Dr. Have lived in Alaska , a Dr. In a tribal Village living in a grass hut in Africa , and in countries around the world. We love how your family lives and the positive values that are being taught to your children every day. Off and on we have been vegetarians and while I am not a hunter, I sure I would be if I lived in Alaska again, particularly in the outback. I strongly support subsistence hunting and Alaskan laws regarding hunting revere animals more than any other state in the union. ( I may be wrong on this as regards other states). I am certain you would not think a child of yours" grew a third head" if they decided to go to Uni. I have never heard you or Agnes be non-accepting of their own views. Ignore these idiots who believe their lifestyle is superior. I am certain they would not survive a week living in your Village yet alone in the wildness. I am certain I am more formally educated than Loveland, and Know that I could learn a WORLD Of KNOWLEDGE from the Hailstone family. God Bless!

Crissy Caldwell
Crissy Caldwell

Chip and Agnes, I am impressed by how you raise your children. I believe in the old saying"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for life". From what I see on the show, you are making sure your kids know how to feed themselves and to pass down your heritage to their families. Your bio here states that you sell some of the crafts you make. Do you sell anything on a website? I'd love to see and possibly buy things your family makes. Id especially love to buy an ulu knife. My Husband says that they are easier to use because of their design and sharpness of the blade. I have severe OA in both of my hands and was thinking an ulu would help when preparing our meals. I'd like to visit AK to get my own, I do want one that is really made in AK and not in a factory, but unfortunately, the cold weather does not agree with my body. Would love to hear back from you about your crafts and if you make ulu's as well. Keep up the good work. We enjoy the show and are glad to see that the show has been signed for another season.

steven jones
steven jones



To know where you're going, you must first know where you come from. A great debt we will bestow upon our children if we neglect to impart this simple truth. i mean, are we not borrowing the earth from them now?

Anyways......must be some reason they call your wife's family"the real people"...(...I would like to hear her take on that some day!)..until then, keep on keepin' it real up there, Chip.

Pamela Day
Pamela Day

Chip and Agnes: I love you guys, and your wonderful family.  I enjoy watching Agnes at her work, and fishing.  I envy you for your fishing skills, but I could not ever match up to your skills.  I adore your family.  God bless you guys, and best wishes to you all.  I watch every episode that I can, and I feel so much like I know you.  Chip you have one hell of a great wife, and family, and you guys are blessed.  I admire Chip for being such a good husband and father. 

steven jones
steven jones

Well said, Mr Hailstone. Life is harsh for most of us....emotionally or elementally. It gives no quarter.

Truth is always best...period. Realities are sometimes hard to handle....knowing the truth is the only advantage any of us ever have. Real information about the real world..( I will add here that this is my attraction to the show)..Not dealing with the real world is escapism.....evident through drug and alcohol issues prevalent where hardships exist. 

All the more reason to give praises for the continuity of tribal/cultural influences on the youth, especially the accountability  and structure provided by a community life. No matter where in the world you travel.....

successful communities/cultures has a foundation stemming from values passed down from one generation to another.

Ed, only hang up your "hatchet of customs" when they are able to pry it from your cold lifeless hands.

Sonia S
Sonia S

Happy New Year Agnes & Chip! I love watching your segments. It's beautiful to see you teaching your daughters such valuable traditions. 


Agnes - you're an amazing and inspiring woman. Much respect from Toronto, Ontario, Canada!

Vicki Wood
Vicki Wood

Tolerance is the key here. We all live different lives and I'm sure whoever is offended by the way you all live buys gasoline for their cars and uses tons of electricity. Fact is if you eat meat something has to die. 

I also bet the Hailstones know where their children are when they go to bed of a night.

I find it all fascinating and I think its good that we get to peek into their lives and see a lot of what we will never experience in the lower 48.

Thanks Hailstones and may you all be blessed in your life. I admire you.

brenton reynolds
brenton reynolds

Chip can you email your mailing address to me ? I have a late  christmas present for you and family. Should be able to use in your hunting and fishing lifestyle. My email is. z28rod@aol.com  thanks Brent

steven jones
steven jones

The Chipster ?...Why is it that other's know better and are continually advising on"how it works"??

Gayle, please enjoy the show for what it represents. Try to ignore your negative insurgencies and personal insight into just how much reality is represented in "reality shows"... 

It is obvious that you share an interest in the significant extremes of a sustenance life style...even a passion maybe. But to impose your personal values, desires and proclivities onto another man's right and privilege...well, that's a bit much. I have never met the Hailstones. I cannot say from personal experience or even by the limited exposure to the segments exposed to viewers exactly what kind of "problems' exist in the family dynamics. I can however comment on the existence of family values as they relate to the type of upbringing typical for the Inuit lifestyle. As a behavioral specialist and an adult of similar upbringing....I valued the family circle and community involvement as a foundation of my heritage. That heritage was more forgiving and supportive to whatever my lifestyle choices would be in the future...I cannot be more emphatic. Support ...no matter the choice.

Gayle...it is easy to let our passions get the better of us. These children are not required to do...they are endowed with.... Empowered. Would that all of us could have the security and presence of mind  to know and appreciate our origins ....and respect the cultural values of others.....It is my hope that this message is received in a spirit of unity and awareness, and not one of instruction or criticism.


Chip.... forgive me for taking a side. Like I said before.... I have little time for those who give long speeches about what they say they've done and even less for those who tell you how you should handle your business...just wasn't brought up that way.   Keep your head dry, your family warm....AND NEVER, EVER QUIT!


Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

---Every parent has the right to raise their child/children as they see fit, providing there is no physical/psychological abuse occurring, and the basic necessities are provided. In the case of Chip and Agnes, one could argue whether the "basic necessities" were being provided by the PARENTS (or whether the children are REQUIRED to labor to provide for themselves---along with the parents)...

---The bigger problem may be simply that in MOST cultures, parents want their children to do BETTER than they, themselves have done: to learn MORE, accomplish MORE than themselves. I get the distinct feeling that if any of those kids were ever to say, "I'd like to go to college in BOSTON one day, to be a doctor," Chip and Agnes would look at that child as if she had grown a third head. Chip says (probably in reference to negative comments he's received from viewers), "Sometimes I wonder if I'm raising my kids the right way....then I ask them, and THEY say, 'we love it'." ....Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. If a child has never been EXPOSED to any other way of life, they don't know any better....If the kids attended summer camps regularly in the lower 48, attended school out-of-state, or became exchange students, THEN you ask them that question, you would receive a fairer answer.

----The children can be taught traditions AND the importance of higher education---can't they? College scholarships for Native Alaskans often sit, waiting for takers.... I wonder how the Chipster expects to live when he and Agnes are both too old and feeble to hunt anymore, and their daughters all have their OWN families to provide for? Will he continue to depend on his womenfolk to support him? Wouldn't an educated, high-earning daughter be a blessing? ......Just wondering.....

Karen Samford
Karen Samford

If Chip is such a good hunter, why doesn't he ever shoot something?  He is always just showing the females where to shoot.

Terry Baker
Terry Baker

Hi Chip I think you and you family are alsome..

Carol Danielson
Carol Danielson

I am a First Nation Canadian from the north, and I have often wondered about the tattoo on Agnes' chin; is it personal, or is it a cultural thing? Does it have special meaning/significance? Are there any other Natives with one similar? Is it only women that have it, and If so, are any of your daughters going to get one too, and at what age? Thanks, and love the show!

Jerry Hight
Jerry Hight

Everyone needs to give Chip a break. Chip, I applaud you for your restraint and higher standards when replying to people posting on here. Until you people have actually been in a position of being on the wrong side of a crooked cop, don't judge! I'm 43 yrs old, @ 17 I was railroaded by a bad detective and have been a convicted felon since. I lost most of my rights as an American citizen, again...not because I had committed any crime. I think about it every day, every day. It's been 25 yrs. I used to hunt, I cannot and have not been able to. I have a beautiful family, own my own successful small business, but I still to this day, think about being a convicted felon for a crime I did not commit.
Chip, keep your head up...do not give up. Appeal @ every level you can. You may not win, but you'll at least know you tried. I gave up, biggest mistake of my life, because my case "timed out". Meaning I could not proceed anymore after my appeal was initially denied. I quit because I had done another mans time, was almost done with all my oversight and I wanted to move on with my life. I didn't realize how bad being a felon would cause my life hardship. I've made the best of it and have come to peace with it, but I do not trust the police, prosecutors...nor anyone on that side of the law. I have friends that are Sheriff deputies, police officers and such, but I still always keep them at arms length.
I'm a huge fan of the show, you are a true man...meaning as a husband, father, provider and teacher. I know what you are going through right now, it's tough, especially when guns are a huge part of your existence. Keep on keepin' on bud! You are what a "Man" stands for!

steven jones
steven jones

Quvianagli Anaiyyuniqpaliqsi suli Nakuuluni Ukiutqiutiqsi

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Frank Lester


You have an eye for the obvious frank, but you forgot in your 1/2 truth the outcome; Dead. When the meats not in a pen, they tend to not cooperate in the dying part, yet the ladys persisted, and made meat, but maybe you didnt comprehend that part.....and ,again, obvioulsy no Cows were shot, but maybe you didnt understand that , either.


We dont get welfare.


 Watch the show frank, we dont watch you.














Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Crissy Caldwell If you have a Face Book account, Crissy, you can cntact Charles Criss, he was on the episode that Agnes made a Seal skin vest, he carved her some ivory buttons. He has a new batch of as real as can be Kobuk River style Ulu's , most with Caribou handles, and he can do ivory work if he has the materials and time.


We make museum displays og tradional Inupiaq clothing and such, depending on what the ladys have at hand and what they get a bid for. Agnes directs the work,, but we all have a hand in it from hunting such down to stiching it to fit. and fairly high end artwok for displays in buildings, schools, etc.

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Erin Wimmer 

Green wing Teal are small ducks, and the "Cup o Soup" was a full grown adult, just flightless,

moulting their feathers away.


Fish do not gasp for air, they live in the water and do not breath air.


 No Mommys, no babys were killed and no kids were show to do so.

  It pretty easy to tell your an idiot, and /or a liar, as nothing you've stated is true and were all glad you do not  watch the show, obviously......... and if you do get a chance to watch us, you should open your eyes, and you might have a ligit post someday.....


Then again, thanx for being stupid, your very entertaining

brenton reynolds
brenton reynolds

@Erin Wimmer Erin Chip explained on the show very well about this. Watch and listen before writing some stuff,  being nice here, the Indians up there have been collecting eggs like this to maybe 1000 years, still see seagulls don't you ?????

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

@Steven: I have taken your insights in the spirit in which they were delivered; I don't believe you gave mine the same respect, as you did not address my primary concern (not only with this particular Native Alaskan family, by the way)...My concern (which happens to be shared by many in education) is simple: Why can't Native culture & traditions cohabit with an emphasis on education? Wouldn't the community benefit from having a doctor or two living among them? An attorney to settle disputes (so they don't escalate to the point that people like Chip end up in jail?)

---Unless the Hailstones are very unique among their neighbors, they are being supported monthly by most viewers of their show, in the form of monthly welfare checks (available--and taken---by the vast majority of Native Alaskans...in addition to Medicaid & WIC)...Far from living a wholly "subsistence" lifestyle, most Native Alaskans survive with a patchwork of welfare & traditional practices. To state that, "It has ALWAYS been this way" is to negate the ceaseless beat of progress that can't---and won't---be stopped, no matter how one clings to "tradition."

----Kinder treatment of the animals that sustain them can be a start (regardless of "how they've always been treated"); allowing children to BE children (where imagination and play is the primary goal---without putting the adult responsibilities of providing for the family on their young shoulders) can coincide with teaching them HOW it is done....and most importantly, emphasizing how education can benefit the WHOLE community shouldn't be a foreign concept---no matter the community's "traditions."

---If the Hailstones and their neighbors had truly "stopped the clock," and lived totally a traditional lifestyle, perhaps education wouldn't be such a priority...but they haven't. Chip & his wife have computers, satellites & transport injured relatives many miles to find adequate treatment. In addition, alcoholism is at epidemic levels in most traditional Alaskan towns...Having dentists, doctors & social workers in their communities would improve the lives of all (after all, it isn't as if their town is lacking in hunter/gatherers....but it IS lacking in people with the skills & knowledge to make life better)...

---Nothing I have said is a "knock" on traditional practices (except for the treatment of animals); on the contrary, having professionals that were born and raised in these towns would improve the independence of the people---and allow them to care for each other without having to depend on those outside of their culture for support and care....

---I'm sorry if you are affronted by my views

Dawn Sport
Dawn Sport

@Gayle Loveland, you're viewing things from a European/Colonization point of view. Prior to colonization, the native people lived this way successfully for thousands of years. After colonization and the need to strip the "savage" out of the aboriginals of this land, it was then that the social issues began to arise.

Many experts now believe that in order for Aboriginals to thrive is to go back to their roots, free of shame and to reclaim their identity and culture. The Hailstones are educating their daughters in a way of life and culture that their ancestors have previously thrived on pre colonization. I see happy well balanced girls that aren't afflicted with the pressures placed on youth in the way of education, keeping up with the Jones, etc.  At the end of the day, this is the way this family chooses to live their lives and it is no more up to you how they do it if their children are taken care of than it is my place to tell you how to live your life.



I sincerely hope that you are a vegetarian and do not buy grocery store meat if you are concerned with the treatment of animals from aboriginal peoples. Their way of hunting is far more humane than what the steak in the grocery store comes from.

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Gayle: a child living in NYC, does not know of the culture of Detroit or Miami or Alaska. How ignorant of you and self- righteous! I believe in travel more than anyone I know but EVERY child and adult could benefit from travel, but not everyone can afford to do so. Is it not amazing that one can still be happy and productive without having to be an exchange student( which I was) or having gone to Summer camp? My parents had me do chores and I worked since 14 yrs of age in a real job, served in the military and worked as a psychologist among other careers. I only wished I had the knowedge of the Hailstone children. Are your for real or just playing devils's advocate?

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Native American families take care of the elders as does the community unlike families of most cultures in the USA. To be educated does not mean you will automatically provide for the elders. Gayle, if you indeed have a higher ed. degree, let us know which college or Uni you attended as we need to know where not to send our children. You have not learned of other cultures, traditions nor have you learned compassion. You are the worst case scenario for a higher education degree. By the way, is your plumber, hvac person, electrician or auto mechanic your physician as well? A higher Ed degree does not always equal intelligence nor is it a predictor of success or happiness in life.

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@steven jones 

Inuit are pretty interesting as a people. They have alot in common with folks over here in Alaska. The People to our South, Alaskan Y'upik and Siberian Y'upik on St.Lawrence Island have tattoo tradions,as do the neighbors to the west in Siberia, the Chuk-Chi, Inupiaq and Siberian Y'upik that lived there before Sovietization. Cool link.


Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Carol Danielson 

Agnes is a Kuuvanmuit Inupiaq, and her tattoo reflects that. Only women in their tribes had traditional tatt's. Tattoos varie from place to place, but those who know them can tell right where your from. I belive the tribes of Canadian Inuit, relative to Alaskan Inupiat, also have traditional tatt's.

There are several lady's in the region who have the traditional tattoos, and theres varie according to where they are from.


If the girls choose to do so, great,if not, that is just fine too.

Jerry Hight
Jerry Hight

@Edward Hailstone  I pray your appeal comes through, you get a new trial and are acquitted. The Police can blatantly lie to anyone while conducting an investigation without any recourse, but you report a bad cop & are charged with Perjury. They obviously "doctored" the recording, I listened to it. Even if you are acquitted and your rights restored, nothing will ever happen to the real guilty, the police. I respect that they have a job to do, but all to often, a bad cop having a bad day ruins an innocents life. I hope this cop can sleep at night, I bet you have many sleepless nights with worry.
Give your family my best and you keep on doing what you're doing, you and Agnes are parents to be commended, you're raising an amazing family.

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Jerry Hight 

Thank you , very very much, Jerry.

Im so very grateful that my wife and daughter step up, or we'd be destroyed, in family, their culture and our basic ways of making a living. They too know the score and saw what happend, and their loyalty and giving huntin their best go just keeps us going.


As well, I will NEVER give up until this is made right, and we get Justice.


Happy Holidays!

Erin Wimmer
Erin Wimmer

@Edward Hailstone @Erin Wimmer If I was incorrect I am thankful and also apologize  for the over sight.  Sometimes the way the Television depicts your family and or activities, comes off very harsh and only shows the viewers half of the story.   I'm sorry to say that a lot of your families clips were not the best.

Jerry Hight
Jerry Hight

@Gayle Loveland 
-Having "Professionals" in their Village wouldn't improve a thing, it would complicate a simple lifestyle and turn their Village into the lower 48, who wants that? Lawyers, Politicians and such running around spewing rhetoric and making issues where there are none? No thanks! Additionally, these people are professionals, they are professionals at their lifestyle. If you don't believe that...try living their lifestyle as an Amateur, you'd fail. A Professional is one who does what others cannot in a given area.
-Why is a College education such a worry with you for these people? They have an education you could never give or receive, they're not trying to force you to bring your kids or family to them for their educational rewards, stop telling them they need what you perceive to be the proper way to enjoy a life. You do realize that Diplomas were originally made out of Sheepskin right? That's why they are called just that. Kind of hypocritical with you talking about they way they survive.
-Why even waste anyone's time with posting the garbage you post? Stop being so judgmental and take a long look in the mirror, maybe it's you that needs to examine your lifestyle. Go back to the couch, drink your Starbucks and watch General Hospital, that fantasy life seems more up your alley.

-Chip & Agnes are good people, raising an amazing family and if any of those children wanted to try something new or outside the box...I have no doubt that they would support them in their endeavor. If you don't like what they're about, stop watching. I, just as many many others, enjoy watching them live. We all can learn from them, even if it's on the idiot box called tv.

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

Your views do not affront, its actually laughable :D


Thankfully nothing you write matters at all.


  Happy New Year!!

Edward Hailstone
Edward Hailstone

@Erin Wimmer @Edward Hailstone 

The truth, weather we like it or not, is best. If you dont like the segments, thats mighty fine with Agnes and I. If life looks harsh, be glad your on the other side of the TV. Were here to please noone but ourselfs.

 Even  if they only show 1/2 the story, simple observations and comments on whats is actually portrayed is way better than bringing on conjecture and untrue accusations. I respond to people in kind, to any comments, the true ones are  best.


 Life is harsh, or pay$$ to avoid doing it yerself, if need be is fine, but critisizing others for doing what the must is crazy.

    You can be sorry all you like, our familys clips are pretty daqmn good to us. From what Ive read from your posts, I dont actually belive you watch any.


Either way, have a great day, and please dont watch our segments, that way were all happy, and thats what really matters in life, not TV......it rots yer brain.....LOL!!