Inuvik, the largest Canadian community north of the Arctic Circle and the regional government center for the Mackenzie Delta area, was planned by the federal government. The site was selected to replace Aklavik, and a hospital, school and airport were built over a period of six years, from 1955 to 1961. Both Gwich'in and Inuvialuit families moved to the new community, located on a navigable channel of the Mackenzie Delta.
Oil and natural gas were discovered nearby in the early 1970s, and following extensive exploration, world class discoveries were identified. The Aboriginal Pipeline Group, which includes the Gwich'in, is a partner in a proposal to build the first pipeline along the Mackenzie Valley to deliver gas from the Arctic to southern Canada and the US.
As the center for resource exploration and government, Inuvik expands with development of Canada's Arctic oil and gas reserves. The town has a population of close to 3400, with about 15 per cent claiming Gwich'in ancestry. The Gwich'in of Inuvik call themselves the Nihtat Gwich'in ("mixed people") because the community is made up of a mixture of different Gwich'in peoples.