DCSIMG

ICASS IX- Umea, Sweden June 8-12, 2017

By Chelsi Slotten and Nicholas Parlato

The Ninth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences took place earlier this month in Umea, Sweden, in the southernmost part of Sapmi, the ancient homeland of the Sami.  The five-day event was attended by eight hundred people from twenty five different countries, with 204 sessions and 1,014 papers presented.  The theme of this year’s conference was “People and Place”, addressing the essential importance of our relationship to and reliance on the land.  The Arctic Studies Center was represented at the conference by Igor Krupnik, Nicholas Parlato, and Chelsi Slotten. 

The five-day conference began each morning with a plenary session, many of which revolved around indigenous knowledge and sustainability. It kicked off on Thursday June 8th with an opening ceremony and a plenary titled ‘Extractive resource development and sustainability in the Arctic’.  Panelists included Florian Stammler, Gunhild Hoogensen-Gjory, Thierry Rodon, Chris Southcott, and Sverke

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Umea City Church

r Sorlin. Major themes from the first plenary were knowledge-sharing networks surrounding land use issues, proper community representation in negotiations over land, problems of international lending and monitoring for extractive projects, and the gender politics of indigenous communities and industrial settlements.

The second plenary session, called “What is the role of education and education research in advancing understanding of the Arctic?” featured the following panelists: Diane Hirshberg, Jose Gerin-Lajoie, Laila Aleksandersen Nutti, Sean AsquilqluqTopkok and Tuija Turunen.   Common themes in this session were the importance of education in equipping local populations to address the unique challenges they face, and building a more sustainable future.  Emphasis was given to recognizing the value of traditional knowledge, and fully engaging with local populations to ensure that the Arctic is understood as a place of living cultures with valuable contributions to make to the wider world.

Saturday’s plenary, “Indigenous perspectives on knowledge” continued this theme.  The panel consisted of Jillian Mars, Gunvor Guttorm, Kirk Anderson, Lars-Anders Baer with Petter Stoor as moderator.  Many of the panelists had the same major point in their discussions, namely that the value of traditional knowledge must be recognized and embraced in a real and meaningful way within the Academy.  Intellectuals must engage in active decolonization in the research and knowledge-production spheres.  While some universities have made strides towards recognizing the importance of indigenous knowledge, this panel called for a larger engagement by institutions as well as people.  While laws, policy and regulations regarding indigenous knowledge are useful, intellectuals must go deeper and aim for emotional change that results in deep, internalized respect for indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing.

Conference days were split up into morning and afternoon sessions on a variety of topics across multiple disciplines, and often covering inter- and transdisciplinary territory. As is so often the case, there were more sessions than there was time to attend them all.  What follows is a brief overview of the sessions we attended.

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Phil Buckland discussing the use of dung beetles in archaeology.

Session 1.1 was an archaeological focused session called ‘The Hunting-Herding Continuum Past and Present: Palaecological, Cosmological, and Climate Narrative Across Eurasia’ that analyzed changing land uses over the past thousand years.  Sessions by David Anderson, Kjell-Åke Aronson and Stine Barkindhaug focused on the importance of reindeer to the Sami way of life, the changing relationship with reindeer, and the need for flexibility in reindeer management as industrialization encroaches on traditional herding areas.  Phil Buckland's afternoon presentation on the uses of dung beetle analysis in archaeology was more methodological in nature, while Ralph Hartley returned to questions of land use and hunting, this time in Southeast Alaska.  All 5 speakers addressed how the changing landscape, either due to global warming, industrialization or other forms of human action, is affecting archaeology and the need for continual high-level work in this part of the world.

Session 9.1 covered the theory-driven ICE Law Project, which considers questions of maritime and environmental law through the lens of ice. Neither earth nor water, ice provides a critical point of departure in addressing the issues of a planet in rapid fluctuation and devising adaptive strategies for coastal peoples and shipping industries. Presentations by Stephanie Kaine and Gavin Bridge laid the conceptual ground for a “disruptive” politics of ice, while Aldo Chircop and Anna Stammler offered current and projected examples of how ice and the Arctic transcend geopolitical and economic boundaries. Conclusions by all four presenters identified the need within the United Nations, the EU, and International Maritime Organization to develop stronger, more versatile regulations over the resources and landscape of a changing Arctic.

Session 18.4 addressed questions around the topic, “Indigenous Communities and Extractive Industries in the Arctic: Processes of Domination and Co-existence”. Two of the presenters, Vyacheslav Shadrin and Aytolina Ivanova, hailed from the Republic of Sakha in central Siberia, while Dmitri Berezhkov, currently in exile from Russia, lived formerly in Kamchatka. Shadrin’s presentation described in detail the proposal of an “ethnologic impact assessment” to enforce compensation to native Siberians from extractive industries. Ivanova explored the contradictions among Evenk people between their sedentary village life and their idealized nomadic life through the lens of Schopenhauer’s “World as Will and Imagination”. Finally, Berezhkov gave a harrowing account of a village’s confrontation with a large coal mining corporation in the Kemerova Oblast of southern Russian.

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Nadine Hoffman on changing terminology in databasses.

Session 17.2 was another dual session with panels in the morning and afternoon.  The session on “Facilitating social sciences and humanities scholarship of the Arctic through library, archival and information services” was co-chaired by Spencer Acadia and Hannele Näveri-Ranta.  Ali Shiri and Stéfano Biondo presented papers on the importance of utilizing digital libraries to make information accessible to the communities they pertain to and interested scholars.  Stacey Penney from Memorial University discussed the logistical difficulties in creating such a digital library, while Joë Bouchard discussed the importance of having accurate selection criteria in place before building a collection, digital or otherwise.  Nadine Hoffman then discussed the difficulties in using databases because of changing terminology, in this case Indigenous terminology in Canadian legal research in the Arctic.  Rounding out the panel was Erin Hollingsworth who discussed her project to create Iñupiaq language resources at the Tuzzy Consortium Library in Barrow, Alaska.  All six speakers spoke eloquently on the need to increase digital resources as a conservation method, an educational tool and a way of reconnecting archival material with the communities it originated in.  

Session 14.4 was titled “Sustaining Arctic Cultural Heritage in the 21st Century” and addressed a wide range of subjects. Tatiana Argounova-Low offered a compelling story about a project at the National Arts Museum of the Sakha Republic to recreate the missing second half of a 150 year old Sakha sculpture. Victoria Peemot connected two historical periods separated by one hundred years through a project exploring a 1917 Finnish Geological Expedition to southern Siberia, the people and places it touched, and the memories its documentation evokes today. Finally, the Arctic Studies Center’s Nicholas Parlato presented on the ASC’s ongoing development of the International Guide to Arctic Ethnographic Collections, which, upon completion, will elucidate the diverse holdings of one hundred museums around the world in terms of scope, history, and accessibility.

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Nicholas Parlato presenting on the work we are doing at the ASC.

Session 20.2 covered three key dimensions of the “Politics of Sustainability in the Arctic”. Emma Wilson-Rowe discussed the divergent cultural attitudes and policies among Arctic states by analyzing official statements and announcements, bringing to light significant differences in international definitions of “sustainability”. Jes Harfeld brought up the little-discussed notion of anthropocentrism in definitions of sustainability and invited the audience and Arctic studies community to examine challenging ethical dimensions of land and resource use as well as our relationship with animals. Providing a more concrete investigation of active sustainability and mitigation practices, Daria Shapovalova shared her research into four international conventions on environmental protection, dating to 1992, detailing their language, enforcement, and shortcomings.

Session 12.1 focused on the ‘’The Mediated North’ – Constructing ‘the Arctic’ in Contemporary Media”.  Andreas Womelsdorf started the session with a paper on the Alaska computer game Never Alone.  He analyzed the ways in which Never Along differs from traditional computer games set during the colonial period, by allowing indigenous communities to share their stories in their own worlds.  He also addresses how the reason behind the creation of the game- to raise money to decrease the communities reliance on the government- highlights how colonial power relations are still affecting the world today.  Susan Vanek then discussed the difficulties with circumpolar publications, both due to the large number of languages spoken in the North and logistical hurdles such as limited internet.  The final presenter was Ali Shiri, discussing his digital library development project for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region once again.  All three presenters focused on the importance of giving voice to the people who actually live in the Arctic, as well as some of the difficulties in achieving that due to language barriers, funding issues, and insufficient infrastructure.

A very full session 19.3 focused on the unique challenges facing ‘Cities of the North’.  This six person session spanned the globe with presentations about Alaska, Russia, Sweden, and Australia.  The panel introduces a new collaboration between Umeå University, Charles Darwin University and the University of Alaska-Anchorage, that seeks to increase understanding of how cities in sparsely populated northern areas impact development in those areas.  The session posed many questions that this new partnership will hopefully answer, such as what is the role of government in sustaining northern cities? What impact do these cities have on tourism and leisure mobility?  What do settlement, residence and home mean in the modern context of our highly mobile society?  It will be exciting to see when this project is at the next meeting in 3 years time.

Session 8.10 considered problems of “Recognition, protection, and management” with regards to the lands and resources of indigenous peoples. Gail Fondahl discussed the establishment of federal and regional laws on Territories of Traditional Nature-Use in Russia and the challenges presented to local sovereignty and land use by a new “Far East Hectare” law offering western Russian citizens cheap land in the east. She was followed by Antonina Savvinova, who described the steady appropriation of thirty thousand hectares of a one-million hectare WWF-protected territory by encroaching gold-mining operations. To end the session, Nobohiro Kishigami explored the heated conflicts between indigenous whaling communities and environmental activists.

Session 14.3 addressed “21st Century Collecting”, which went far beyond the traditional museum model of collecting. Nancy Wachowich gave a presentation on her 2015 efforts to digitally record traditional seal-sewing techniques with the Pond Inlet Women’s Sewing Collective in Nunavut. Lynn Walker used Marcel Mauss’s seminal work on the social theory of reciprocity, “The Gift”, to provide a framework for repatriation and decolonial practices in museums. Lastly, Jonella Larson White gave an in-depth presentation on the activities of her nonprofit organization, the Foraker Group, which works closely with Alaskan native groups on leadership training, heritage preservation, and financial stability.

Section 9.3 took an in depth look at “Arctic 'exceptionalism'? Northern Contributions to International Relations”.  Sarah Milne applied balance of power theory to the Arctic looking at how recent political changes have impacted the regional orders in the Arctic leading to potential bipolar or multipolar futures.  Michael Tuszczuk then applied role theory to determine that the involvement of nations in the Arctic are often driven by external factors but the role they take in the Arctic is determined by internal factors.  Hege Kallbekken investigated the role of paradiplomacy in the Arctic, finding that even when state level communication breaks down, regional and local relationships continue that can result in political and economic benefits.  All the panelists stressed the importance of understanding the Arctic’s role in the broader world of international relations and how the landscape of international relations in the Arctic is currently shifting. 

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Reindeer at Vasterbottens Museum.

In addition to the sessions, there were several wonderful evening events, film screenings, as well as the IASSA General Assembly.  The welcome reception on June 8th was hosted at the Vasterbottens Museum and featured local cuisine, including reindeer stew, and both Sami and Swedish music, as well as a chance to see the museum.  Attendees strolled, ate, and chatted among reproduction Sami camps on the grounds of the museum, while live reindeer enjoyed the local foliage and a Sami hunter answered questions on traditional practices.  Conference attendees could also walk around the main museum building and partake of cloud berry tarts, visit a 19th century residence and bake house where traditional flatbread was being made, and enjoy music in an outdoor gazebo.

The second evening featured live music by Mikias Narvaez Savhi followed by a screening of the critically-acclaimed film Sami Blood.  Written and directed by Amanda Kernell, the film was released last year and recounts the experiences of a Sami girl growing up and leaving her community for education in the south.  A deeply moving film, it shines light on the plight of Sami children forced into “nomad schools” throughout the 20th century and the cultural fallout in their adult years. 

The evening of the 10th also began with live music by the same performer, Arctic Karaoke, and a screening of the film, Guardians of Eternity.  The film looks at the issues of gold mining in Northern Canada, and especially the large amount of arsenic produced as waste in the processing of gold ore.  The chemical is highly toxic and, as of right now, there is no way of safely disposing of it.  The film follows the journey of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in their attempts to mitigate the damage done by this chemical and set up a system to ensure future generations understand the danger and severity of such mining practices.

Sunday was the last full day of the conference, complete with evening entertainment.  Earlier in the day the IASSA General Assembly was held.  General elections were held, resulting in leadership of IASSA passing from Peter Sköld of Umea University to Andrey Petrov, Professor of Geography at University of Northern Iowa, for the next 3 years.  It was also decided that the ICASS X will be held in Arkhangelsk, Russia in 3 years time.  That evening, the closing banquet included a 3-course meal, followed by presentations of awards, and finally a live band performance and dancing at the restaurant.  The event was very well attended and seemed to be enjoyed by all.

After sessions on the final day, the conference attendees convened in the Aula Nordica auditorium for the last time to conclude the conference and set the stage for 2020. After opening remarks by the sitting president, synthesizing all the themes and ideas developed over the previous five days, the closing ceremony was turned over to Andrey Petrov, who promised to continue promoting IASSA as a platform for indigenous-led research and collaboration. He was followed by representatives from the Inuit Circumpolar Council, who shared their insights and vision of the future of the conference. Finally, a delegation from the Tling’it Nation spoke and presented gifts to many of the organizers and key participants. The conference officially closed with a beautiful Sami song, performed by Krister Stoor of the Umea University Centre for Sami Research.


Become a 'Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend' Exhibit Volunteer!!

Narwhal Recruitment Flyer

 

In August 2017 we will be opening a new exhibit Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic legend and are currently in the process of recruiting volunteers to interact with visitors in this exhibit and the Sant ocean hall. We will provide all the training necessary to prepare volunteers in September and they will start once they have completed the training. Volunteers would commit to coming into the museum eight hours a month for one year and must be 18 or older.

Volunteers will answer questions, spark conversations and engage visitors with cultural objects and marine specimens in the Narwhal exhibit and Sant Ocean Hall. The exhibits cover topics such as narwhal biology, Inuit culture, the effects of climate change in the Arctic, biodiversity in the ocean, fossil records of marine life, and human’s impact on the ocean and contain over 674 marine specimen. Volunteers will get the opportunity to learn directly from world renowned scientists, gain experience communicating the importance of our natural world to visitors, and much more.


Arctic Studies Center at the SAA’s

By Chelsi Slotten

              The Society for American Archaeology will be hosting its 82nd annual meeting in Vancouver Canada this week (March 29- April 2).  Over five days’ thousands of scholars will convene to talk about their research, discuss important questions facing the field, and plan for the future.  This year, three people from our department will be attending- Dr. William Fitzhugh, Dr. Stephan Loring, and Chelsi Slotten.  While there are always too many interesting sessions, and never enough time to attend them all, we’re highlighting some sessions that are relevant to us and our area of interest. 

              Thursday March 30th there will be a symposium titled Reimagining Human-Animal Relations in the Circumpolar North.  The session will run from 8AM- 12PM in East Meeting Room 11 of the Vancouver Convention Center.

              Also on Thursday, at 8:45 AM Chelsi Slotten will be presenting in a session called Constructing Archaeology: Moving Sex/Gender and Sexuality Research from the Periphery to the Center.  Her paper is titled Engendering the Bioarchaeology of the Viking Age.  The session will run from 8- 11AM in East Meeting room 9 of the Vancouver Convention Center.

             The memorial session for Dr. Joan Gero, who was an ASC Research Associate and a pioneer in the field of archaeological gender studies, will be held Thursday from 1- 3PM in East Meeting Room 7 of the Vancouver Convention Center.  It is titled Perturbing the Peace: A Tribute to Joan Gero and will feature several of Joan's collaborators, colleagues, students, and friends.               

            Again on Thursday, this time from 6-10 PM, Dr. William Fitzhugh will be the discussant for a symposium called Arctic and Subarctic Coasts: Current Research and Modern Challenges.  The session will meet in East Meeting Room 8 of the Vancouver Convention Center.

           On Friday March 31st there will be a symposium called Archaeology in the Arctic.  This session will feature a paper by Caroline Solazzo, William Fitzhugh, Susan Kaplan, Charles Potter and Jolon Dyer titled Molecular Markers in Keratins from Hair and Baleen for Species Identification of Archaeological Artifacts.  If you would like to attend, you should be in East Meeting Room 7 of the Vancouver Convention Center from 10:30AM – 12PM.

              In addition to all these symposia, there will be an Arctic Archaeology poster session on Saturday April 1st from 8-10AM.  You can stop by the East Exhibit Hall B in the Vancouver Convention Center anytime during this 2 hour block to talk to presenters about their posters.

              Closing out the Arctic panels for the weekend is a symposium titled Towards a Social Archaeology of Food in Northern North America.  It will run from 1 -3:30PM in East Meeting Room 14  of the Vancouver Convention Center on Saturday April 1st

              See you in Vancouver!


Fulbright Arctic Week: Our Open House

By: Schuyler Litten and Chelsi Slotten

Last Tuesday, October 25th, we had the pleasure of hosting the Artic Fulbright open house in the Ocean Hall of the National Museum of Natural History.  We welcomed 17 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Sweden and the US.  Their research was complimented by the Arctic Youth Ambassadors who joined us to discuss their experience of life in the Arctic. Representatives from Alaska Geographic, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dartmouth College, University of Alaska Fairbank, the U.S. Department of State, the National Geographic Society and the Institute of International Education were also present.

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Arctic Youth Ambassadors in the Ocean Hall. NHB2016-02527, Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian.

The program engaged visitors of all ages with current research on the impact of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and communities.  Over the course of 3 hours the public interacted directly with experts at 24 stations around the Sant Ocean Hall. Dr. Noor Johnson highlighted the need for more community-led research and involvement with offshore development in Canada, while Dr. Maria Tysiachniouk discussed how to balance the interests of oil companies and indigenous populations in the Arctic. Dr. Øystein Varpe talked about his research observing the relationship between Arctic sea ice and its effect on ecological systems. A few examples are the changes in growth rates among different species and shifts in hunting abilities or patterns due to increased light from receding ice. Itty Neuhaus, the only Fulbright artist, explained the development of her instillation. It reflects on the nature of icebergs and their real representation of climate change along their symbolic representation of changes within ourselves. Her 3D printed models of icebergs were created to match their density and behavior in water. Dr. Tamara Harms discussed her research on Arctic freshwater ecosystems and the effects climate change has on areas with significant permafrost melt. Bill Fitzhugh the Director of Arctic Studies and Stephen Loring an Arctic archaeologist had artifacts from our own collections available for the public to interact with. They were used as teaching aids and examples of arctic culture and art.

 

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Dr. Stephen Loring explaining traditional dress as seen on a doll. NHB2016-02556, Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian.

The importance of involving locals and arctic youth in this conversation was showcased by the presentation of several Arctic Youth Ambassadors who talked about a wide array of subjects relating to their lives in the arctic. One of the Youth Ambassadors, Willie Drake, presented on traditional Yup’ik housing. He discussed the traditional building materials along with functional and cultural uses in relation to their modern counterparts. Jannelle Trowbridge discussed her experience mushing (dog sled pulling) in Alaska with her family.

 

This open house contributed to the public understanding of the Arctic and stressed the need for continued research in the Arctic. The participation of so many scholars, professionals, and locals highlights the interconnected nature of the Arctic nations, both to one another and the broader world.  Many thanks to all those who participated, both as experts or visitors, and to the Fulbright Arctic Initiative for providing their generous funding of Arctic scholarship.


Carrie M. McLain Memorial Musuem: Journey of an Arctic Collection

By Amy Phillips-Chan, Director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum.  Originally Published in the ASC Newsletter, No. 23. 55-57

For almost 50 years the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum has perched a few yards from the icy coast of Norton Sound on historic Front Street in Nome, Alaska. In 1967 the Nome Museum, among other museums, including the Cordova Historical Museum, Pioneer Museum (Fairbanks), and Alaska State Museum (Juneau), sprung up across the state to celebrate the centennial purchase of Alaska from Russia. The centennial museums represented a concerted statewide effort to gather and preserve Alaska history and culture while at the same time they announced the importance of Alaska collections and researchers to the professional field.

In Nome, local historian Carrie M. McLain had embarked on a lifelong pursuit of collecting and sharing oral histories, photographs, and artifacts since her arrival on the fringe of the gold rush in 1905. McLain’s founding collection of ivory artwork and historical photographs set a precedent for donors with personal connections to Nome and the surrounding region looking to return their treasures and memories. The museum collection greatly expanded over the past five decades and now comprises 15,000 objects, 12,000 photographic prints and negatives, and over 100 linear feet of historical records.

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Tools, ivory carvings, a pair of model boots, and a baleen basket from the Lopp Collection donated by great-grandson Stuart Dick in May 2015. CMMM, Acc. 2015.4.abøgarður, Faroe Islands.

The museum’s greatest collection strength is Alaska Native material culture from the late 19th century, followed by items related to gold mining, the ivory curio market, ancient ivory carvings, and dog sledding. The collection also comprises a fair number of business and household articles from early 1900s Nome as well as cultural artifacts and faunal remains from the Snake River Sandspit site. The overall collection affords unique insight into the socio-cultural and economic shifts occurring within Bering Strait communities at the turn of the 20th century.

The Lopp Collection of bone and ivory implements, stone tools, models, and ivory curios represents one of the museum’s distinct assemblages portraying transculturation. William Thomas “Tom” Loppand Ellen Louise Kittredge Loppserved as missionaries, teachers, and reindeer superintendents in Wales between 1892-1902. The Lopps participated in subsistence activities, took photographs, and printed a newsletter, The Eskimo Bulletin, which chronicled daily life within an Iñupiaq village. The growing presence of gold miners in the area and ensuing changes to the local economy are captured in Kathleen Lopp-Smith’s, Ice Window: Letters from a Bering Strait Village, 1892-1902 (2002).

By the time of the Lopp’s departure from Wales in 1902, the town of Nome had swelled to almost 20,000  people, Western goods were prevalent, and the ivory curio market was in full swing. The Shields Collection provides an example of positive cross-cultural relations with Iñupiaq families in transition and a variety of items produced for the tourist trade in Nome. From 1910-1918, Walter C. Shields served as Superintendent of Schools

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Ivory artwork from the Shields Collection donated by grandson Philip Shields in April 2015. The reindeer and figure stand on top of the tusk inscribed, “To Walter C. Shields, Superintendent 1916. Nome, Alaska. From, Wales Delegates.” CMMM, Acc. 2015.2

of the Northwest District of Alaska. Shields oversaw the establishment of new schools and advocated for the promulgation of reindeer herding as a means to increase Iñupiaq wealth and standing. During his treks to northern communities by reindeer sled, Shields took photographs, acquired objects, and framed his view on Iñupiaq history as a book of poems titled The Ancient Ground (1918).

In February 2015 I came onboard as Director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum as it stood on the cusp of its own significant transformation with construction of a new building, new exhibits, and its first dedicated collections storage area. Like many small museums, lapse in staff and lack of training over the years had resulted in a disorganized and poorly documented collection. The use of multiple numbering systems, a lack of accession records, and dearth of deed of gifts, presented an impressive challenge. Indeterminate portions of the collection were also stored in seven different locations across town adding another layer of organizational complexity.

In spring 2015 the museum undertook its first comprehensive inventory in fifty years. For those who have processed collections, one is intimately familiar with the meticulous task of searching for documentation, identifying, attributing, and cataloguing. Opening unmarked boxes and exploring collection hideaways also carries a heady sense of excitement and discovery. One remarkable object found folded in storage is a tanned and dyed sealskin wall hanging featuring alternating light and dark squares of intricate geometric appliqué typically found on 19th century Chukchi clothing from Eastern Siberia.

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Sealskin skin wall hanging featuring alternating light and dark squares of geometric designs. CMMM, Cat. 1979.1.52.

For our museum, the comprehensive inventory served a manifold purpose. First, the extensive processing activity helped us establish right of ownership while gaining critical insight into the scope and strengths of our collection. Knowledge about the range and dimensions of objects was also instrumental in planning the layout of cabinets and shelves in our new collections storage area. Next, after objects were catalogued and photographed they moved down the line to where they were wrapped and boxed for the move to the new museum. Finally, hands-on analyses of the collection afforded an opportunity to visualize new exhibit themes and identify key objects for storylines.

The museum collection will embark on its next journey during summer 2016 as it moves approximately one mile north to our new facility. Rehousing the collection in mobile storage will greatly increase the accessibility of the collection and expand its potential value for research, public programs, exhibits, and community projects. Following the move, the museum will be rolling out a “Community Historian” program as an integral part of exhibit development for the main gallery. The program invites community members with localized knowledge to partner with museum staff and draft exhibit content utilizing materials within the collection.

The Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum contains a rich assemblage of artifacts, photographs, and papers that reveal the vibrant history of Nome and the Bering Strait, from marine mammal hunting equipment and ivory artwork, to gold mining and the origins of long distance dog sled racing. Through many personal donations and accounts, the collection offer critical insight into the shared history of Western and Bering Strait Native peoples that continues to enrich the cultural fabric of Nome.


ILULISSAT CLIMATE DAYS- ILULISSAT, GREENLAND JUNE 2 – 5, 2015

Climate Days brought together 158 Arctic specialists to share with one another the current knowledge of ice conditions and climate change in the Arctic. The primary venue for the conference was Ilulissat’s Hotel Arctic.

 

 

Sponsors who made this conference possible include Denmark’s National Space Institute, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the European Space Agency, the International Arctic Science Committee, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, the Hotel Arctic, and others.

 

 

Opening Session

 

Introductions made at Ilulissat’s sports hall (Ilulissat Hallen) were presented by Mala Høy,

Greenland Minister of Nature, Environment, and Justice. Anne Riiser presented a welcome from the Nordic Council of Ministers (NORDFORSK).

 

Professor Rene Forsberg led off for the major sponsoring institution, DTU-Space,

which is a Danish research Institute and part of the Technical University of Denmark. Here, he follows with a conversation with Toku Oshima of Qaanaaq, Greenland, on climate change and its effects on traditional hunting and fishing.

Professor Konrad Steffen, Director of the Swiss Federal Research Institute, began with the observation that sea level had been constant for 2,000 to 3,000 years. Now, with global warming producing more melt water and the upper layers of the ocean undergoing thermal expansion, we are seeing sea level begin to rise. The warmest year to date is 2014. Through changes in precipitation, evaporation, runoff, and ice discharge, the Greenland Ice Sheet is experiencing a loss in ice mass. The warming oceans are increasingly a key factor in melting of both glacier and sea ice.

Dr. Jennifer Mercer contractor to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) thanked that body for its support of Arctic and Antarctic research, with its largest funding increases directed to Alaska and Greenland. Other conference leadoff speakers included Jørgen Hammeken-Holm, Acting Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources. He commented that even with all the sea ice reduction in Greenland waters, commercial quantities of gas and oil have not been found.

Dr. Mark Drinkwater from the Netherlands, with the European Space Agency addressed the use of satellite programs through which ESA monitors and studies the cryosphere. He offers that the ocean is becoming warmer and there is more evaporation – more moisture in air, and more precipitation, which falls as snow at higher elevation in central Greenland, which rises to above 10,000 ft.

Karen Anne Arleth, Head of Greenland’s Climate Office addressed Greenland climate change and adaptation policy.

From a cultural change perspective, artists Bjarki Bragason and Anna Lindal of Iceland talked of how politics influences both economy and nature. A loop has been created in which cultural change is causing climate change, which leads to further cultural change – a continuous downward lock step spiral of climate and culture, as we know them. Bragason and Lindal raise the question: Can our economic model be sustained?

Glacier Dynamics:

Selected Modeling Endeavors

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Image caption: Subsequent conference sessions over the period June 3 through 5 were held in the Hotel Arctic, which operates under the Directorship of Erik Bjerregaard. Aerial image is of hotel with town to right (south) and airport to left (north).

 

Maximum thickness of sea ice around Greenland occurred in the 1980s. In 2012, on the ice sheet, Greenland experienced its record year for glacial melt. 2013 had much less melt, possibly due to a coldwater incursion into coastal fjords that reduced the amount of ice lost through calving. This temporarily reduced the ice discharge of outlet glaciers.

The European Space Agency (ESA) through its Climate Change Initiative (CCI) space program measures ice mass through three variables: elevation, gravity, and ice flow velocity. The data show that there is more ice melt in Greenland than in Ellesmere and Baffin combined, particularly in 2010 and 2012.

One of the leaders of these modeling endeavors is Konrad Steffen who has personally installed 25 automatic weather stations in Greenland.

  1-Greenland Conference

Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) does very impressive modeling of ice sheet climatology and surface mass balance. The key is understanding the relationship between elevation and precipitation and the amount of surface melting. These variables are all represented in “Greenland Mass Loss Fits”. Several different models use the same data in different ways, though all realize the same trend of decreasing Greenland ice mass.

In its climate change studies in Greenland, Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice (SVALI), a Nordic research initiative, found like GEUS that while there is loss of ice through melt in lower reaches of Greenland, the volume of ice at higher, central elevations continues to increase. As the atmosphere and oceans warm, there is more evaporation and precipitation, with the latter falling as snow at higher elevations in Greenland.

Changes in ice sheet mass can be measured in Greenland by using “space-borne grravimetry”. A pair of orbiting satellites repeatedly measures the gravitational attraction of ice sheet as they pass overhead. The amount of ice lost as the ice sheet melts and as icebergs break off the edge of the ice sheet is not compensated for by new snow and ice. The satellites measure the resulting mass imbalance.

Glacial velocity is a function of season and proximity to sea. There are interesting patterns of advance and retreat, which correlate with ocean temperature. The ice dynamics are a function of velocity (which is a function of the steepness of the outlet glacier), calving rate (which is related to ocean temperature) and subglacial hydrology. (Ian Joughin and Ben Smith). The force of gravity, the weight of the ice, drives ice flow. Changes in climate can modify the frictional forces that resist ice flow. For example, lubrication by melt water can reduce friction if it makes its way to the base of the ice sheet, allowing faster flow.

There is an increase in snowfall in central Greenland, which doesn’t compensate for the mass lost at the edges.

2-Greenland Conference

In 2013, the rate at which ice loss was occurring slowed. With apparent overturning of the North Atlantic’s massive waters, there was likely a cold-water incursion into the fjords around Greenland, with less heat energy being delivered to the outlet glaciers. This unusual event caused several outlet glaciers to temporarily thicken and advance as of time of conference May 2015 (Mike Bevis). The temperature has averaged three degrees less than the average temperature for this time of year calculated over the last 30 years, barometric pressure has decreased, and precipitation has increased.

A significant realization of glacial modeling is that climate feedback mechanisms, like weather, are not linear.

Through its Climate Change Initiative (CCI), the European Space Agency has investigated ‘essential climate variables’, which are related to changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet. CCI data products include ice velocity, surface elevation change, calving front location, and grounding line location.

Doug Benn concluded that calving, sub-aqueous melting, and buoyancy of, causes the front of floating ice to bend upwards, as ice beneath the water line melts more rapidly than ice above the water line. This has led to collapsing ice fronts at glaciers in Svalbard. Water from beneath glaciers can drive circulation in fjords, bringing in warmer ocean water that enhances the rate of ice melt and calving, sometimes accelerating glacial speed. Benn suggested that glacier surges may sometimes be driven by ice changes at the front of the glacier rather than up in the accumulation area of the glacier.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program identified black carbon as a short-lived pollutant that drifts in from the south with 2015 proving to be a record-breaking high as massive, largely uncontrolled forest fires burn throughout western North America from California through British Columbia to Alaska with carbon particulate matter streaming to the Arctic. Local sources of black carbon further amplify build up. Every Arctic village has its own diesel-fired generator or electrical plant that emits black carbon.

The Greenland Climate Research Centre studies the fundamental relationships between community, ice, and living resources in northwest Greenland. They ask what does weather and climate change mean to the people who are dependent upon the sea for a livelihood. The essence of culture is to serve as a repository of hard won knowledge gained over time, which lends predictability to life. Actor Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves speaks of the loss of this predictability among the Southwest American Indians in the nineteenth century: “Through changes in circumstances, a people who become unable to predict the future become confused”.

Ilulissat Climate Days effectively demonstrated the complexity of climate science through the truly, fascinating modeling of environmental change in Greenland and with worldwide implications of those changes.

The Greenland Ice Mapping Project has tracked Jakobshavn (now Ilulissat) for 20 years, through 2014. The greatest rate of ice loss was in 2012. In recent years, the glacial terminus where calving occurs in Jakobshavn is moving inland approximately 600 meters each year.

Tracking Jakobshavn Glacier Flow

In 2013 I had the good fortune to meet Jens Ploug Larsen, a pilot who flies with Air Greenland as well as with his own local airline, Airzafari. In 2015, with one of Jens’s pilots, Martin, we tracked the Jakobshavn Glacier from Ilulissat inland towards the Greenland Ice Sheet. Photographs track glacial progression from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Note that images portray calving, or “ablation”, that begins well away from the sea.

To present this one glacier in a quantitative, global context, Jakobshavn – one of Greenland’s most prolific – each year produces enough water to satisfy all of the annual water requirements of the United States.

The Greenland Ice Sheet, which rises to more than 2 miles in height, is like a frozen desert that drifts largely through the forces of elevation (gravity) and ice mass. While still miles form the sea, a stream from the Greenland ice sheet enters the Jakobshavn channel. With compression and steeper incline, the ablation zone, region of calving, begins while still miles from the sea.

02-4229.JKBG

A major ablation zone of Jakobshavn is fed with a number of ice streams, which congregate like the headwaters and tributaries of a river watershed. In front of the glacier is the top of a sheared wall, still prominently displayed as one large ridge with a zone of ice detritus in between.

03-4249.(rev)Ablation wall 04-4268.JKBG_Collapsed wall copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceberg wall, shaped like preceding image of a sheared wall, now floats in the waters of Ilulissat’s Icefjord. All will become icebergs - and water.

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In the setting sun of an Arctic evening, a paddler in his kayak navigates through the icebergs of the Jakobshavn Glacier, calved into the waters of Ilulissat.

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NSF flight with Air National Guard 109th from Stratton Air Force Base Scotia, New York to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

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The US National Science Foundation (NSF) arranged for air transport for the American delegation on an U.S. Air Force C-130 from Stratton Base in upstate New York to Greenland’s primary airport, Kangerlussuaq.

Author/Photographer

Wilfred E. Richard, PhD Research Associate

Arctic Studies Center, U.S. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,

Washington, D.C.

Research Fellow, Uummannaq Polar Institute, Uummannaq, Greenland

 

Author

Michael John Willis, PhD, Research Associate

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University

Adjunct Assistant Research Professor

Geological Sciences

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

 

Reviewer

Hal Salzman, PhD

Professor and Senior Faculty Fellow

Rutgers, The State University of New York

 

Acknowledgements

Renee D. Crain - National Science Foundation Logistical Support

Jens Ploug Larsen - Airzafari

Ronald W. Levere - publication design


Free Public Lecture on Life and Death in the Arctic on January 15, 2016

Ernest “Tiger” Burch Memorial Lecture Series, 2016

Caribou, Cod, Climate, and Man: A Story of Life and Death in the Arctic

By: Morten Meldgaard, Natural History Museum of Denmark and University of Greenland

January 15th, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

MortenBurchLecture

Far from being a remote planetary ‘deep-freeze’, the Arctic region today is recognized as a dynamic environment that has played a major role in the evolution and spread of animals and plants as well as the migrations and development of peoples and cultures. This presentation begins by investigating why Late Quaternary megafauna like the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros went extinct while others like caribou and bison prevailed. What caused these differential outcomes? And what was the role of humans and climate in the dramatic changes that took place subsequently?

In order to explore these questions we will consider the history of caribou and caribou hunting in Greenland, where excavations at the important site Aasivissuit (“the Great Summer Camp”) reveal a close human association for several thousand years. Archaeological evidence reveals that dramatic caribou population crashes have occurred time and again, forcing major changes in the human economies. The key to human survival has been the development of broad-based, resilient resource strategies.

To understand what this strategy looked like and how people coped with fluctuating resources we examine the 4000 year old Saqqaq site “Qeqertasussuq” on a small West Greenland island in Disko Bay that has produced a wealth of biocultural information from the frozen remains of seals, fish, caribou and whales. Ironically, in spite of apparent abundance, Saqqaq suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. What happened? Did the marine resource base disintegrate? Did winter sea-ice disappear? Were other agents in play?

Given recent history, one cannot but wonder if humans had a decisive role in cycles of key resource populations over time?  Archaeology and history shows that humans have decimated many Arctic animal populations and that the scale of human impact has changed dramatically with industrialized exploitation. Instances of local prehistoric population decreases and extinctions have been replaced by massive over-exploitation that is resulting in possible irreversible changes in the populations of keystone species and even in the structure of entire ecosystems, in the Arctic and beyond.

Dr. Morten Meldgaard (Ph.D. in Biology, 1990, University of Copenhagen) is Professor of Arctic environmental history at the University of Greenland. He served as the directors of Danish Natural History Museum (2007-2014), The North Atlantic House (a cultural center for culture and art, 2000-2005), and the Danish Polar Center (1995-200). He conducted zooarchaeological research in Greenland and Labrador and published widely on historical ecology, animal fluctuation cycles, Inuit use of animal resources, and application of mtDNA and other genomic data in studying ancient human migrations in the Arctic.



Arctic Spring Festival Success!

By: Bill Fitzhugh. Originally published in the ASC Newsletter, No 22. 62-63.

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Official poster for the Arctic Spring Festival.


More than 50,000 people were in the museum during the Arctic Spring Festival and over 5,000 people interacted directly with experts at stations in the Sant Ocean Hall and the Evans Gallery, while an additional 1,900 visited the Q?rius Education Center to play games, learn crafts, explore objects, jam on video games, and watch films related to Arctic science and culture. Just as one example, Martin Nweeia’s narwhal station in the Sant Ocean Hall logged 1,262 visitors in four hours!

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Martin Nweeia attracts a crowd with his replica narwhal tusk! Photo: James DiLoreto, Smithsonian Institution.


The festival also featured performances in the Rotunda and Q?rius Loft by a youth group from the Uummannaq Children's Home in Uummannaq, Greenland, and a contemporary music and dance performance by Jody Sperling’s NYC-based dance team on the theme of melting Arctic ice.

Jody Sperling's group performs Ice Cycle.
Choreographer Jody Sperling, her company Time Lapse Dance, and composer Matthew Burtner present Ice Cycle for the evening dance performance on Saturday, May 9. Photo: Trish Mace.


Visitors and experts, young and old, local DC residents, and travelers from afar all had great conversations with Arctic experts and unique educational experiences throughout the Museum.

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Igah Hainnu instructs Noor Johnson on traditional caribou carving. Ms. Hainnu is an artist from Clyde River, Canada, who was sponsored by the Embassy of Canada to come down for the Festival and share her knowledge and art with our visitors. Photo: James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution.

 

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Bill Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Center, addresses a question at the panel. Left to right: Mead Treadwell, Craig Fleener, Stephanie Pfirman, Bill Fitzhugh. Photo: Brittany M. Hance, Smithsonian Institution.

The program began with a Friday afternoon panel discussion with eight Arctic experts from the Smithsonian (Krupnik and Fitzhugh), Arctic Research Commission (John Farrell), DOS (Nikoosh Carlo), Canadian Museum of Nature (Margaret Beckel), Stephanie Pfirman (Barnard college), Craig Fleener (Alaska Governor’s office), and Mead Treadwell (former ARC chief and Lt. Gov. of Alaska). The panel was opened with Sounds of the Arctic by Charles Morrow and CAFF award winning photos and other Arctic photos from government agencies, set to sound by Meghan Mulkerin. Arctic films were shown on Friday at the panel and all day on Sunday, by the Greenland Eyes International Film Festival. In addition, the Uummannaq Greenland Youth Ensemble delighted the audience with a short performance at the panel. A reception was hosted Friday night by the Danish/ Greenland Embassy. Friday afternoon and Saturday were devoted to the public education events noted above, presented by NMNH, NOAA, NPS, DOS, DOI, USFWS, BLM, CAFF, BOEM, NSSI, NAS, NSF, NASA, ONR, National Ice Center, Tromso Museum, the Arctic Council, the Canadian Embassy, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and the Danish Embassy with Visit Greenland.

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Pablo Clemente-Colón, Chief Scientist from the U.S. National Ice Center interacts with a visitor in the Sant Ocean Hall.


More than 150 people from over 20 partner organizations and agencies participated and provided materials and specimens, literature, website programs, Arctic ice maps, temperature curves, and nature photography for the festival – among the more unique items were a musk ox (with head) and polar bear pelts; a demonstration on how to make boots from king salmon skins; a narwhal tusk; Greenland ethnographic objects; and an ingenious melting ‘glacier goo’ game led by the PoLAR Partnership. The Uummannaq Greenland Youth Ensemble performed numerous times in different places of the Natural History Museum.

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The Uummannaq Children's Home Youth Ensemble performs in the Rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History during the Arctic Spring Festival, May 9, 2015. Photo: James Di Loreto.


The festival made a major contribution to public understanding of the Arctic and was a fitting way to introduce the new US Arctic Council Chairmanship period and its theme of public outreach and education. The Arctic Spring Festival would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship our our donors and the herculean contributions of Meghan Mulkerin, our new Program Coordinator in the Arctic Studies Center, and our colleagues in the Office of Education and Outreach, Barbara Stauffer, Margery Gordon, Jen Collins, Trish Mace, Colleen Popson, Naimah Muhammad, Courtney Gerstenmaier and Megan Chen. Igor Krupnik, Stephen Loring, and Bill Fitzhugh were also instrumental to the process of gathering partners and entertainers together for this wonderful program.

Joel Issak, Meghan Mulkerin, Rebecca Clemens, and Barbara Stauffer at the fish skin sewing activity.
Joel Issak shows Meghan Mulkerin, Rebecca Clemens, and Barbara Stauffer the finer points of fish skin sewing. Photo: Robert Radu.


The Arctic Spring Festival was generously funded by: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Arctic Studies Center, Living in the Anthropocene Initiative, and Recovering Voices, with additional support from The U.S. Arctic Research Commission, The PoLAR Partnership (supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation: DUE–1239783), Oak Foundation, The Ed Nef Foundation, Embassy of Canada, Royal Norwegian Embassy, and Embassy of Denmark.


A Social Media Internship with the Arctic Studies Center

By: Ismelda R. Correa. Originally published in the ASC Newsletter, No. 22, pg. 77-78.

Isme
Isme with Henry the elephant in the rotunda of NMNH

I was in residence with the Arctic Studies Center as a social media intern as part of the University of Houston partnership with the Smithsonian for three-weeks. The idea of working on social media in an anthropology office was a new experience for me. While I am confident in my technical knowledge—my major is chemical engineering—I knew I was going to work on two subjects I had limited experience with: social media and the Arctic. Don’t misunderstand me. While I am active on social media as much as every other 20-year-old, I did lack a Twitter and Instagram account. Additionally, I did not know how a research center in the most visited natural history museum in the world used Facebook. Could they post memes?

With her cheerful and approachable personality, my mentor, Meghan Mulkerin, soothed my worries soon after meeting her. My assignment was to provide the Arctic Studies Center (ASC) feedback on their social media outreach, which ranged from their own website and blog, Magnetic North, to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and to create some content of my own working with Meghan and Bill Fitzhugh. A few days after starting my internship, Meghan arranged for me to meet two other social media experts within the Smithsonian community; Maria Anderson, the Press Secretary for Latino Media and Adriel Luis, the Curator of Digital and Emerging Media at the Asian Pacific American Center. In our separate meetings, they discussed successful social media strategies and answered all of my questions. By the end of the meetings, I was better prepared to complete my assignment and amazed at the support the Smithsonian Institution offers to its interns. 

As I was learning about the do’s and don’ts of the various social media platforms, I worked on honing my tweeting skills. In an attempt to use the information I had learned on successfully engaging with our followers on Arctic subjects, I came up with my first tweet. As the day progressed, I constantly monitored the amount of retweets and favorites. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of it. As a note, the Unangax/Aleut people live in the Aleutian Islands located in western Alaska.

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Isme's first tweet!

One of the benefits of interning at the Smithsonian’s NMNH is the behind the scenes access interns and fellows have to the collections. While my internship was short-term, I got to see three different collections, the Burgess Shale, paleobiology (fossil marine mammals) and the birds collection. The tours were led by researchers within the departments that encouraged our questions.

As the end of my internship approaches, I appreciate social media is more than a form of entertainment. It is a powerful tool museums are using, and constantly improving, to engage with the American public; a public that has changed and is constantly changing the way they obtain information. Most of all, I have to praise the willingness of the Smithsonian Institution and the smaller research-divisions it is made up of (like the Arctic Studies Center) to embrace the  use of social media to reach out to the American public in order to uphold their mission of increasing and spreading knowledge.

If you are interested in learning more about internships at the Smithsonian, please visit the Office of Fellowships and Internships. Watch the video below for more on what Isme and her fellow interns from the University of Houston had to say about their experiences at the Smithsonian!

  

 


Arctic ‘Crashes’: ASC Advances on its Human-Animal-Climate Relations Project

By: Igor Krupnik.

Originally published in ASC Newsletter 22, June 2015, pg 25.

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In September 2014, a massive herd of estimated 35,000 Pacific walrus came ashore in Point Lay, Alaska. Its unusual large size points to a serious disequilibrium in walrus-sea ice-habitat system. Source: NOAA

In February 2014, the ASC team received the Smithsonian Grand Challenges Consortia award to implement its multi-disciplinary project Arctic Crashes: Human, Climate, and Habitat Agency in the Anthropocene (see ASC Newsletter 21:19–22, and 22:25-37). The project officially started in March 2014; the $100,000 grant was originally given for 15 months, till June 2015 but was eventually extended till fall 2015, to include the second Arctic field season for the project team. In late May 2014, the first field crew under Aron Crowell headed to the fieldwork in Yakutat Bay, Alaska (see Crowell, this issue).

The ‘Arctic Crashes’ project is aimed at the theme of human-animal relations in the rapidly changing Arctic that is of utmost relevance to scientists, Arctic people, resource managers and agencies, and policy-makers. The field is huge and a relatively small program, such as ours, would never achieve the needed circumpolar coverage and required focus on several animal species that are of critical importance to Arctic people. Therefore, our project from the beginning was organized around several local and species-focused ‘case studies’ in Arctic North America – some in the Western Arctic (Alaska and Bering Sea) and some in the Eastern Arctic and North Atlantic. In summer-fall 2014, four teams went to the field: those led by Aron Crowell in Yakutat Bay (Tlingit historical subsistence hunting of harbor seals), Bill Fitzhugh (historical Inuit and harp seals in Northern Québec), Stephen Loring (Innu and James River caribou herd in interior Labrador), and Walter Adey (Baffin Island to Labrador sea cruise to collect data on bottom coralline communities as proxies to historical sea ice and ocean temperature change). The stories of each of these 2014 field operations are presented in the sections below (Originally published in ASC Newsletter, No 22, see our Arctic Crashes blog posts, where they will appear here). In addition, Alaina Harmon conducted surveys of the NMNH arctic mammal collections at the Vertebrate Zoology and Paleobiology Departments (with the support of our colleagues,  Kris Helgen, James Mead, Charles Potter, Don Wilson, and Nicholas Pyenson – see below). Igor Krupnik summarized historical data on the distribution of the Pacific walrus sub-populations (stocks) in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, from 1825 to the present, assisted by biologists G. Carleton Ray and the late Lyudmila Bogoslovskaya. In all, our studies covered four Arctic species—caribou, Pacific walrus, harbor and harp seal (plus many more in the NMNH osteological collections)—and various groups of polar indigenous peoples, Inuit, Innu, Siberian Yupik, Chukchi, Tlingit, and others, who interacted with them over generations.

In 2015, the ‘Arctic Crashes’ crew is planning to expand its focus, both in terms of field geography, the number of species covered, and the spectrum of indigenous communities to be engaged in our research. We are also seeking to bring more partners—archaeologists,   paleobiologists, historians, indigenous experts, wildlife and environmental managers—to the ‘Crashes’ study. A major step in that direction was undertaken in winter 2015 by Aron Crowell and Igor Krupnik, who jointly planned an ‘Arctic Crashes’ session for the 42nd annual meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association in Anchorage. The full report on that day-long session on March 5, 2015, with 14 presented papers, covering ten species (polar bear, Pacific walrus, caribou, bowhead whale, white whale, fur seal, sea lion, harbor seal, ringed seal, and salmon), primarily from the North Pacific–Western Arctic area will be published in the next issue of the ASC Newsletter. Following the next field season in summer 2015, we plan to organize another ‘Arctic Crashes’ symposium in early 2016, this time at the Natural History Museum. The second session will be also focused primarily on the Eastern Arctic, i.e. Canada and Greenland, also Northeast Russia. Papers from the two sessions will then be published together in the project’s final collection volume that will be the main product of our two-year study on the changing relations among of Arctic Peoples, Animals, and Climate.  

For more on our Arctic Crashes project, please visit our website, and check out the other posts on this blog.