Hearing reset for lawsuit against new Alaska town name

Barrow or Utqiagvik?

ANCHORAGE — An Alaska judge has rescheduled a court hearing in a lawsuit challenging the new Inupiat Eskimo name of the nation’s northernmost town.

The case will be heard Jan. 19 in the town formerly known as Barrow and recently changed to Utqiagvik (oot-GHAR’-vik). A hearing was originally set for Wednesday.

A local Alaska Native corporation sued just before the voter-approved name change became effective Dec. 1.

The plaintiffs maintain city officials rushed the process with insufficient public outreach. They also maintain the new name isn’t the area’s traditional place name.

The name change was narrowly approved by voters in October.

The City Council is now considering a proposal to ask voters if the new name should be repealed. The issue will be addressed in January.