Buckland is located on the west bank of the Buckland River, about 75 miles southeast of Kotzebue.
The population of Buckland is 406, mostly Iñupiat Eskimo. Subsistence activities are an important component of the lifestyle, as residents depend on caribou, beluga whale and seal for survival.
The residents have moved from one site to another along the river at least five times, to places known as Elephant Point, Old Buckland and New Site. The presence of extensive fossil remains at Elephant Point indicates prehistoric occupation of the area. The moves to Old Buckland and Elephant Point in the 1920s were made to pasture or slaughter the village’s reindeer herd. Buckland is located in an area subject to flooding during spring break-up due to ice jamming.
Residents depend on a subsistence lifestyle for most food sources. A herd of more than 2,000 reindeer are privately managed; workers are paid in meat. The school, city government, Maniilaq Association village clinic, and stores provide most employment. Limited mining also occurs. The village is interested in developing a Native food products and crafts manufacturing facility to produce reindeer sausage, berry products, ivory and wood carvings, and labrador tea.
Buckland’s primary means of transportation are plane, small boat, barge, and snow machine; there are no roads outside of the village. Buckland has a state-owned 2,600′ gravel airstrip that serves a number of scheduled and charter air carriers. Crowley Marine Services barges fuel and supplies to Buckland each summer. Boats are used for travel to other villages and for subsistence activities.
Water is pumped from Buckland River through a 300-foot insulated transmission line, treated in the washeteria building, and stored in a 100,000-gallon insulated tank. A flush haul system is currently under construction in Buckland, including household water and waste holding tanks and complete plumbing. Currently, 36 homes have new flush haul systems, 46 homes still use honeybuckets, and 5 homes are connected to the school’s piped system. Honeybucket bunkers are emptied once a week by the city. The school is connected to the washeteria system and has full plumbing. Buckland has two stores, a village clinic, community hall, city council, city administrator, police officer, magistrate, a volunteer fire department, as well as a school serving grades K-12.