“I'd hate to see an oil rig or oil platform out this window,” Harcharek added.

Last year’s grounding of the Kulluk was “almost like Mother Nature and the good Lord saying like, ‘Hey Shell, you're not ready yet. You haven't proven it to us.”

Borough leaders say the oil industry has helped keep the region running, and hope to keep alive traditions of the past as they forge a partnership for the future.

“We're Inupiaq people,” the younger Glenn said. “We're very resilient. The way we do things may change a little bit and that's OK. We'll just have to adapt to those changes.”