Geography of Siberia: first aproximation

August 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Demographics, Maps, Naming, Siberia | Leave a comment
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If you take a look at a map, you will see how a vast land Siberia is. Thousands of thousands of frozen kilometers that extend from the Urals in the border between Europe and Asia to almost Alaska. Breathtaking! As it is to find out which indigenous people live there, where and who they are. So I will start looking fot it. In the following months I will try to redraw my route map, to make it more concrete. First step, the Wikipedia, as usual:

Demographics of Siberia

Geographically, Siberia includes the Russian Urals, Siberian, and Far Eastern Federal Districts. The north-central parts of Kazakhstan are sometimes included in the region.

Siberia has population density of only three persons per square kilometer. The oblasts with the highest population densities are Chelyabinsk Oblast and Kemerovo Oblast, with 41 and 30 persons per square km, respectively. Koryak Okrug has population density of less than 0.1 per square kilometer.

Population

Click here to see the complete list of districts and territories.

Excluding territories of north-central Kazakhstan, Siberia thus has a total population of ca. 38.7 million (2005). The North Kazakhstan oblast has another 1.1 million inhabitants (2002).

About 70% of Siberia’s people live in cities. Most city people are crowded into small apartments. Many people in rural areas live in simple, but more spacious, log houses. Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, with a population of about 1.5 million, followed by Yekaterinburg (1.3 million, Urals), Omsk (1.1 million), Chelyabinsk (1.07 million, in the Urals), Krasnoyarsk (0.91 million), Barnaul (0.60 million), Irkutsk (0.59 million), Kemerovo (0.52 million), Tyumen (0.51 million), Tomsk (0.48 million), Nizhny Tagil (0.39 million, Urals), Kurgan (0.36 million), Ulan Ude (0.36 million), Chita (0.32 million).

The above count, however, by including the entire Urals Federal District, includes areas not usually considered part of Siberia, e.g. the cities Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk and Nizhny Tagil listed above.

Ethnicities and languages

Most Siberians (close to the average measured over all of Russia of 79%) are Russians and Russified Ukrainians, but in certain Oblasts (e.g. Tuva), Slavic population is as low as 20%.

Most non-Slavic groups are Turkic. Smaller linguistic groups are Mongols (ca. 600,000 speakers) Uralic (Samoyedic, Ugric, Yukaghir; roughly 100,000 speakers), Manchu-Tungus (ca. 40,000 speakers), Chukotko-Kamchatkan (ca. 25,000 speakers), Eskimo-Aleut (some 2,000 speakers), and languages isolates, Ket and Nivkh.

Mongolian, Turkic and Manchu-Tungus languages are sometimes taken together under the term Altaic. Uralic and Altaic form the Ural-Altaic group, and the Uralo-Siberian group combines the Ural-Altaic with the Chukotko-Kamchatkan group. These are more umbrella terms than accepted linguistic relationships.

This last part is the most interesting for me. There are also some interesting links at the bottom of the page, this will be tomorrow’s homework. I see that they do not include the territories that are next to the Bering Strait and Kamchatka. So separate searches for them too.

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Sealaska Heritage Institute

August 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Alaska, Education, Research | Leave a comment
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Another interesting website for Sunday:

Sealaska Heritage Institute

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is a regional Native nonprofit organization founded for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. SHI was established in 1981 by Sealaska Corp., a for-profit company formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). SHI, formerly Sealaska Heritage Foundation, administers Sealaska Corp.’s cultural and educational programs.

Programs
You can view their programs page here. The list is quite long! You can also take a look at their online language resources page here. Sealaska Heritage Institute produces Native language curriculum and other education tools through its Language and Education Programs. The institute encourages students and teachers to use its online resources to perpetuate and revitalize Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages.

Publications

Sealaska Heritage Institute has produced numerous books and videos relating to Alaska Native cultures, languages and historical events. The book collection includes language texts used in Native language classes. SHI is constantly developing new materials to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures, the mission of the institute. Check them here.

Collections

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) houses more than 3,000 publications, approximately 20,000 photographic images, roughly 300 cultural objects, nearly 2,500 media items, and more than 750 linear feet of manuscript material that document the history, culture, heritage, and language of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. Below is a sample of some of the center’s special holdings, including digitized photograph and manuscript collections and
views of artifacts:

    Dr. Walter A. Soboleff ANB Papers: In 2007, Dr. Walter A. Soboleff officially donated to SHI his papers, which document his time as a ranking official within the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB). Funded by IMLS from 2005-2007, SHI staff arranged and scanned a significant
    portion of Soboleff’s ANB papers. The scanned papers are now available online and consist of over 1,000 pages of material that span 1929 to 1995. Scanned papers include issues of the ANB periodical “The Voice of Brotherhood,” ANB meeting minutes, correspondence, working files, camp files, and papers that show how ANB fought to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Alaska Natives.

    Digital Photo Collections: This link takes researchers to a selection of online photographs from
    the Special Collections Research Center’s holdings. These images date from 1880 to the present and document various aspects of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian life. This web album will continue to grow as materials are added by Special Collections staff.

    Digital Celebration Photo Archive:This digital interface is a searchable database of historical photographs from the institute’s collection showcasing select photographs from SCRC’s Celebration Photograph Collection. The database includes images of the first Celebration festival in 1982 and from various festivals that followed. The creation of this photo database was funded by a two-year
    grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services.

    Bowlsby Collection: In July 2002, a private collector donated more than 50
    Alaska Native cultural objects and a slide collection to Sealaska Heritage Institute. It is the largest private collection of cultural objects ever given to SHI. The collection includes baskets, halibut hooks, carving tools, spoons, a rattle and a number of stone objects that appear prehistoric, said SHI President Rosita Worl, a Tlingit anthropologist.

    William Paul, Jr. Photos
    :This photography collection features Southeast Alaska Native people during the 1940s through the 1950s, and they are a joy to view. However, much of the information identifying people, places and events depicted in the photographs has been lost. We are hoping you
    will help! We are interested in anything you have to say about the photos — perhaps you remember some of these events and have stories or memories to share?

    Tlingit Fighting Pick: An old, stone artifact received by Sealaska Heritage Institute in 2003. The object was discovered in the early 1950s in the village of Kake by Lloyd Davis during
    a construction project and later presented to SHI by Davis’ son, John Davis. The artifact measures 16 inches in length and weighs about 5 pounds. SHI is trying to determine the age of the artifact and the type of stone used. SHI asked Native elders, museum personnel and academic experts to view the artifact and to consult with the institute about the object’s potential historical use. Two theories have emerged.

    Curry-Weissbrodt Collection
    : In 1981 a wealth of Alaska Native land-claims documents were donated to SHI by I.S. Weissbrodt and James E. Curry, tribal lawyers who represented the Tlingit and Haida Indians from the 1940s. SHI has scanned and digitized a selection of key documents from
    this collection and they are posted on our website for public use. The project was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Impressive! They run also a blog, you can check it here if you want to keep in contact with them.

Revitalizing Indigenous Languages

August 16, 2008 at 2:25 am | Posted in Language, Research | 1 Comment
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Thanks to Northern Arizona University I found this interesting paper about indigenous languages revitalization. This is a field on which I have been interested before, probably because of my linguistic education at the university. And because personally, I totally agree with the fact that language is one of the most important things regarding cultural diversity. The paper is quite long, so I just selected some parts of it. You can read the full version here.

Some Basics of Indigenous Language Revitalization
Jon Reyhner

Fishman’s eight stages of language loss

Based on his study of minority languages worldwide, Fishman postulated in his landmark 1991 book Reversing Language Shift a continuum of eight stages of language loss with stage eight being the closest to total extinction and stage one being the closest to dynamic survival. Fishman’s eight stages are summarized below and in Figure 1 along with suggestions on what can be done to promote indigenous language use at each stage based on presentations at the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposiums and other sources. It is important to remember that one of Fishman’s stages can only roughly approximate the real situation of a particular indigenous language, and it is imperative to understand that different approaches to language revitalization are called for depending upon the current health of a language and unique local conditions.

(go here and see the scale)

The role of technology in revitalizing indigenous languages

The final section in this volume is on the uses of technology in indigenous language revitalization efforts. There has been telling criticism of “technofixes” for endangered languages. Hilaire Paul Valiquette writes that,

Computers are the most questionable of language teaching tools. They are not cost-effective; they bypass intergenerational teaching; they often involve handing over control to technical experts. They are very often connected with bad L[anguage] teaching (word lists, clicking on the face to hear the word ‘nose,’ etc.). Their use makes a patronizing statement: “the superiority of technology of the dominant culture is saving you.” (1998, p. 111)

However given that, he goes on to write, “Computers do have a use in long-range language preservation” (1998, p. 111).

The first paper in this section by Mizuki Miyashita and Laura Moll describing a dictionary project is a good example of using technology to inexpensively aid both language documentation and to make that information more accessible to indigenous language learners. The second paper by Amar Almasude focuses on how cassette tape recorders and other new technologies have allowed an oral culture to be maintained and diffused both within Morocco and and among emigrants abroad. The last paper by Robert St. Clair and his colleagues gives useful information to anyone interested in publishing indigenous language materials.

Teaching and supporting indigenous languages

Anyone studying the issue knows how threatened indigenous languages are everywhere in the world despite the rhetoric of tribal policies and the Native American Languages Act in the United States and similar efforts abroad, such as the 1992 Sámi Language Act in Norway (Corson, 1995). However, this volume emphasizes the positive steps being taken to effectively revitalize indigenous languages so that Native people who wish to keep their languages alive can get some guidance from the efforts currently being made around the world. And I want to emphasize that these efforts supporting indigenous languages indicate that children can learn an international language such as English along with their indigenous language. English does not have to be purchased at the price of losing one’s indigenous language.

However, if we are to get beyond teaching students numbers, colors, and names of animals, teacher education will be critical in regard to school programs designed to revitalize indigenous languages. There is a large body of experience with second language teaching that can inform teachers of indigenous languages. In particular, Joyce Silverthorne, a member of the Montana State Board of Education, dealt at the 1997 symposium with the broad overview of education required for a professional indigenous language teacher. An excellent inservice teacher training model for promoting indigenous language preservation and teaching that incorporates modern research on second language acquistion is described in the appendices of Stabilizing Indigenous Languages (Cantoni, 1996, pp. 234-239). Developed by Richard Littlebear and the staff of the Interface Alaska Bilingual Multifunctional Resource Center, the model stresses the importance of the use of the Total Physical Response (TPR) and “Natural” approaches to language learning for beginning language instruction. The model also discusses the importance of attitudes towards language, building a theoretical base, building a rationale for language preservation, classroom teaching methods, practical applications, and follow-up to training. Immersion teaching methods, such as Greymorning describes in this volume, are most conducive to developing communicative competence, but they require fluent teachers who are not always available. Teresa McCarty and her colleagues described at the 1997 symposium an intensive summer training program for teachers of indigenous languages, and Cantoni and Reyhner (1998) summarized what educators can do to help with indigenous language revitalization.

Steve Greymorning’s 1997 symposium presentation on “Going Beyond Words” and paper in this volume describe various efforts to teach Arapaho to school children, which had more and more success as the teachers were taught various immersion language teaching methods and spent more classroom time using them to teach Arapaho, but he concludes by advocating the Maori “philosophy of language from the breast,” which emphasizes intergenerational language transmission in the home. The Maori have started language classes for mothers with children 16 to 24 months old. Mothers learn Maori while their babies also learn the sounds and cadences of their tribal language. Veronica Carpenter described at the 1997 symposium how young children pick up the sounds and rhythms of the language(s) spoken around them and how older children not so exposed to their tribe’s language need specific help to pick up that sound system they did not learn at their mother’s side.

It is well known that infants who are breast fed pick up immunities from childhood diseases from their mother’s milk, and I maintain that children who learn their indigenous language and culture at their mother’s breast pick up immunities from the diseases of modern life that lead our children to joining youth gangs, abusing drugs and alcohol, and becoming members of the rootless consumer society described by Robert N. St. Clair in his talk on “The Invisible Doors Between Cultures” at the 1997 symposium. The message about the values of indigenous languages and cultures that I found on the Iñupiaq wallet card I received in Anchorage at the Third Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium needs to be a part of any indigenous language revitalization effort. Whichever of Fishman’s stages an indigenous language is in, there is a need to convince people, indigenous and non-indigenous, that keeping the language alive is important. This need for “marketing” indigenous languages was described at the 1997 symposium in regard to the Maori of Aeotora/New Zealand by Rangi Nicholson.

Conclusion

Indigenous language activists first need to determine the current status of their language and then set realistic goals for their language revitalization efforts. Irregardless of whether these goals include literacy, once goals are established, language activists need to concentrate on the methods, materials, and motivation they will use to achieve their goals, what I term the three “M’s” of indigenous language education (see Figure 4). It is these three “M’s” that will either lead indigenous language learners to communicative competence and more sophisticated language usage or to failure.

No one person, community, school, university, tribe, or government program has all the answers to keeping any indigenous language alive. It is only through sharing successes and learning from failures that the extinction of indigenous languages can be prevented. More needs to be done to create a network of information sharing between indigenous communities. The five symposiums and associated publications, including this volume, Revitalizing Indigenous Languages, are among the many attempts to get the word out about the importance and value of indigenous languages, the current peril they are in, and what can be done to revitalize them.

Go and take a look on their site, if this is a subject you are interested in.

Indigenous People Issues & Resources

August 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Education, Links, News, Organization | Leave a comment
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Thanks to a comment, two weeks ago I found this site, dedicated to indigenous people. It does not have information about all the tribes, but it keeps growing and its future seems promising!

Welcome to Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resource

Today, our world is experiencing a rapid decline in cultural diversity. One in five people in today’s world speak the same language: the Mandarin Chinese spoken by the largest single ethnic group in the world – the Han – whose 1.3 billion population represents 92 percent of the mainland Chinese population and 19 percent of the world’s population. Likewise, in India – the world’s second most populous country – there are 415 living, recognized languages, but the majority of people speak either Bengali or Hindi. Linguists recognize some 6,000 to 7,000 spoken languages, of which 5,000 or so are spoken by indigenous peoples who represent an estimated 6 percent of the world’s population.

Many of these people, and their language and culture, face a questionable future. The relatively rapid decline in language diversity parallels the decline in cultural diversity. These changes are due in part to the product of both historical relationships – imperialism, colonialism, Cold War economic development, and militarism – as well as cultural beliefs that rationalize or justify actions that serve the powerful at the cost of lands and livelihoods of indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources is a new site that is slowly developing. Our goal is to provide information and resources for those concerned about, and for, indigenous peoples around the world. We recognize that our actions in the West effect indigenous peoples in all parts of the world – the consequences of water diversion and hydroelectric energy projects, militarization, global and national events, and consolidation of natural resource access, and the like are all having an unprecedented impact on the world’s indigenous peoples. But we can do something.

It is our belief that cross-cultural communication and understanding – as well as easily accessible information and resources – is one of the keys to helping indigenous peoples maintain their language, culture, and identity. We hope that you also share this belief. Diversity is one of the strongest components to a healthy world. Together we can help and make a difference – from large to small.

I will dig into it later on. Looks promising, doesn’t it?

Riding an Utapanashku

August 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm | Posted in Alaska, Traditions | Leave a comment
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Have you ever wanted to ride an Innu toboggan through the snow? If this was your childhood dream, you can now make it come true thanks to François Bellefleur of Uanamen-shipu, who offered the description for the diary of Peter Armitage (Fall 1982):

Construction of an Utapanashku

utapan – a toboggan; automobile
utapaniapi – rope used to haul the toboggan
utapanashku – a toboggan; snowmobile; he/she loads his toboggan
utapanikueu – he/she makes a toboggan; he loads someone’s toboggan
utapatshimaushu – he/she pulls a child on a toboggan.
utapatshimeu – he/she pulls, tows someone
utapeu – he/she pulls, tows someone
utapeun – a tobaggon load
(Lynn Drapeu. 1991. Dictionnaire Montagnais-Français. Montréal: Presses de l’Université du Québec. p.879).

Tools used to make the toboggan included a hacksaw, pocket knife, crooked knife (mukutan), extremely sharp axe, small hand plane, pot for hot water, “brush” (split stick with old rag in end), holding wedge tool, a flat carpenter’s pencil, screw-driver-push drill, and a “needle” made out of twisted snare wire.

Some pictures

Looks like quite a hard job, but summer can be so boring for snow addicts!

Avataq Cultural Institute

August 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Canada, History, Language, Organization, Traditions | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I found this interesting website from Avataq Cultural Institute:

Avataq Cultural Institute

Avataq Cultural Institute provides a strong foundation for the living culture of today’s Inuit. Since its inception in 1980, Avataq has built a solid reputation as the cultural leader for Nunavik Inuit and as an important resource for Inuit culture in Canada and beyond. Our goal is to ensure that Inuit culture and language continue to thrive into the future, so that our descendants can benefit from the rich heritage passed down to us through the wisdom of our ancestors.


About Us

Founded in 1980, Avataq Cultural Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the language and culture of Inuit in Nunavik (Northern Quebec). The organization has its head office in Inukjuak, Nunavik, and an administrative office in Westmount, Quebec.

Avataq receives its mandate directly from Nunavik Inuit at the biennial Nunavik Inuit Elders’ Conferences. Avataq has a board of directors comprising five Inuit members elected for two-year terms.

The programs and services of the Avataq Cultural Institute include: an Inuktitut promotion and preservation program, a genealogy program, a Nunavik museums program, a Nunavik Inuit art collection, an archaeology department, an artists’ support program, a documentation and archives centre, local cultural committees, traditional skills courses, as well as a research and publications service.

Through its language, heritage and cultural programs, the Avataq Cultural Institute is striving to support and preserve Inuit culture for present and future generations.

I have a photographic day, as you see 😉 I copied a lot of nice photos they have on their website. They have a very very interesting section about the Inuit in Nunavik, as well as maps. This will be for another post tonight! As an extra, you can download the Inuktitut fonts for your computer too! The link is here!

CINE, investigating indigenous diet in Canada

August 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Canada, Health, Research | Leave a comment
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A good friend of mine, whose eyes are open and awake even in the 5th of August, found this information for me in the CINE (Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment) website:

GLOBAL HEALTH CASE STUDY – INUIT (BAFFIN REGION) NUNAVUT TERRITORY, CANADA

Introduction

The Territory of Nunavut was formed in 1992, and represents an Inuit self-ruled territory. The Baffin Region of Nunavut is the most traditional of Canadian Inuit Regions and is home to Inuit (Figure 1).

Studies in this region have shown that traditional food has a central role in the life of Inuit. Therefore, with support from the Northern Contaminants Program and with participation and guidance of the Inuit Tapiriit of Canada, the research took place from 1997 -2000 in 5 regions of Inuit communities with the objectives:

– To derive quantitative estimates of traditional/country and market food intake among Inuit in 5 regions (Inuvialuit, Kitikmeot, Keewatin, Baffin and Labrador), representing approximately 50 communities.
– To complete databases of nutrient and contaminant contents of traditional foods.
– To define benefits of traditional foods in terms of nutritional, socioeconomic and cultural significance.
– To define the levels of dietary exposure to contaminants (mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead and several organochlorines).

A total of 1929 participants were randomly selected for interviews. The information on food consumption took place during fall of 1998 and winter of 1999, using 24- hr recalls, food frequency interviews, and 7-day food records.

The study team was comprised of the following:

Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University, Québec, Canada, H9X 3V9.

1. Grace M. Egeland, Ph.D.
2. Rula Souieda
3. Harriet Kuhnlein, Ph.D., R.D

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Health Office, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1. Looee Okalik
2. Eric Loring

Notes on food groups

Seventy-nine different foods were identified for use in Baffin region, where Pangnirtung is located and among these are numerous species of fish and shellfish, marine and land mammals, birds, plant and berries as part of the traditional food system. The analyses of all foods were carried out in the CINE laboratory.

Information on 79 foods collected was divided into five groups:

1. Fish and Seafood
2. Sea Mammals
3. Land Mammals
4. Game and Birds
5. Berries

Nutrient composition of Baffin Inuit foods is presented in CINE’s Arctic Nutrient File providing access to nutrient information on traditional food (country food) for Canada’s Northern Indigenous Peoples.

The purpose of this resource is to present a reflection of the usual composition of foods available and/or consumed among Inuit community members. This is a living document and nutrient information will be added and/or updated when available.

Seasonality of use, harvest information, type of procurement and other relevant information were collected through household and key informant interviews.

Notes on food components

Vitamin A values are reported in both Vitamin A retinol equivalents (RE-µg) and in retinol activity equivalents (RAE-µg). These values are calculated and reported for only those foods for which retinol, beta carotene and total carotene values are available. Vitamin A (RAE-µg) values are reported for compatibility with the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommendations.

Folate values are reported in Dietary Folate Equivalent (DFE), in addition to reporting of natural folate present in foods

References

1. Fediuk, K., Hidiroglou, N., Madère, R. & Kuhnlein, H.V. (2002) Vitamin C in Inuit traditional food and women’s diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 221-235.
2. Kuhnlein, H.V., Receveur, O., Chan H.M., and Loring E. August, 2000. Assessment of Dietary Benefit/Risk in Inuit Communities. Technical report (ISBN # 0-7717-0558-1). Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill.
3. Kuhnlein, H. V., Kubow, S. & Soueida, R. (1991) Lipid components of traditional Inuit foods and diets of Baffin Island. J. Food Compos. Anal. 4(3): 227-236.
4. Kuhnlein, H. V. & Soueida, R. (1992) Use and nutrient composition of traditional Baffin Inuit foods. J. Food Compos. Anal. 5(2): 112-126.
5. Kuhnlein, H. V., Receveur, O. & Ing, A. (2001) Energy, fat and calcium in bannock consumed by Canadian Inuit. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 101(5): 580-581.
6. Kuhnlein, H. V., Chan, H. M., Leggee, D. & Barthet, V. (2002) Macronutrient, mineral and fatty acid composition of Canadian Arctic traditional food. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 545-566.
7. 7. Kuhnlein, H. V., Barthet, V., Farren, E., Falahi, E., Leggee, D., Receveur, O. and Berti, P. (2006) Vitamins A, D, and E in Canadian Arctic Traditional Food and Adult Diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 19: 495-506.

The pity is that this study is not completely available on-line right now, only a part here. I already told about the side effects of the non-indigenous diets on indigenous populations, and it seems that this institute in Canada investigates in this directions. Good to know that, then! They have more information, so I will be posting about them for a while.

Produced by Nutaaq

August 5, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Canada, Education, Organization | Leave a comment
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Last week I found a production company settled down in Québec, Canada, called Nutaaq. As they explain, they are specialized on multi-cultural and indigenous subjects. This is quite interesting, isn’t it?

Nutaaq Média

Nutaaq Média, Inc. was incorporated in 1991 with the goal of producing both independent and sponsored film, video and interactive media projects.

Although most of Nutaaq productions concern the Arctic or northern issues, Nutaaq has also shot many projects in southern Canada, as well as one project in South America. Our multi-cultural experience is indeed one of our great strengths.
Nutaaq Média represents many years of production experience which allow it to create broadcast programming intended for a mass audience or sponsored projects tailored to a specific few.

Working with a team of talented professionals and state of the art facilities for digital non-linear editing and multi-media authoring, Nutaaq Média produces effective multi-media, sponsored or broadcast programming tailored to client and audience needs in whichever languages are required. In the past, Nutaaq has produced programs in French, English, Inuktitut and Cree, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Italian. Nutaaq can also title and sub-title programs in any language. We also do closed captioning.

Recent Productions

Finding My Talk:A Journey through Aboriginal Languages This one hour documentary follows the journey of Cree filmmaker Paul M. Rickard as he searches for his own language roots and discovers the tireless efforts of many individuals who are promoting, reviving and preserving the use of Aboriginal languages within their communities. Distributed by Mushkeg Media Inc.

Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation In the summer of 1953, the Canadian government relocated seven Inuit families from Northern Québec to the High Arctic. They were promised an abundance of game and fish – in short, a better life. The government assured the Inuit that if things didn’t work out, they could return home after two years. Two years later, another 35 people joined them. It would be thirty years before any of them saw their ancestral lands again. Distributed by Nutaaq and National Film Board of Canada.

Nunavik Heritage CD-ROM The photographs reflect the life and people of Northern Québec (Nunavik) from the 1880’s till the present. The flexibility of the CD-ROM software allows the images to be organized and retrieved by thematic categories such as specific individuals or families, geographical locations, time periods, historical events or photograph contents. The disc design maximizes user interaction and allows images to be printed or incorporated into other documents. Distributed by Avataq Cultural Institute.

Running the Midnight Sun To their friends they’re eccentric, to the Inuit they’re bizarre, but they consider themselves just ordinary people who like to push themselves to the limit. They are ultra runners. Once a year, under a sun that never sets, they gather from all over North America to challenge an 84 kilometer gravel road located 700 kilometers above the Arctic Circle. Distributed by Nutaaq.

North to Nowhere: Quest for the Pole In North to Nowhere, nine adventurers from five countries attempt the Polar trek. They include Shinzi Kazama, a motorcyclist from Japan; Pam Flowers, a ninety pound dogsledder from Alaska; Nicholas Hulot and Hubert de Chevigny, ultra-light pilots from France and Dick Smith, an Australian helicopter pilot. As well, a planeload of American tourists fly to the Pole for a very expensive one hour photo opportunity. No Distributer (unavailable).

They produced some documentaries in Inuktitut and Cree, this is interesting. I contacted them since living in Barcelona it is impossible to watch their programs, but the only option was to buy them, and that was really expensive for me too! I may wait when a relative or friend travel there, to see if they find something!

Traditions live on up North

August 4, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Scandinavia, Traditions | Leave a comment
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The Aftenposten in English it is being quite useful! Look at what I found:

Traditions live on up north

A traditional reindeer feast is a big part of Sami confirmations. PHOTO: OLE MAGNUS RAPP

Spring is busting out all over, and in the far north of Norway it’s accompanied by a wave of confirmations and weddings celebrated in traditional Sami style.

The past weekend unleashed what some observers call “the most beautiful fairy tales” of the season. It was wedding and confirmation time in Kautokeino and Masi, before the Sami people herd their reindeer from the vast inland areas of Finnmark to coastal grazing land.

Confirmations quickly turn into community events, and normally full local churches are packed to overflowing. Family members are given tickets, to be sure they get seats.

The event is a spectacle of bright colours, smiles, brilliant handicraft and serious expressions of the Christian faith.

The pastor speaks in Norwegian, which in turn is translated to the Sami language (Samisk). There are few if any shortcuts: Sami congregations sing all verses of the hymns, sermons are detailed and all those being confirmed are expected to come forward to take communion.

Months of preparations have taken place before the young Sami teenagers kneel in church, both religious and non-religious.

Special reindeer were slaughtered last fall, to feed guests at the parties that follow the church services. The reindeer skin has been well taken care of, and turned into trousers. Colourful, traditional dress is an important part of all Sami celebrations.

“Everything should be new, from the innermost to the outermost clothes,” said Berit Andersdatter Buljo Eira, mother one of the teenage girls being confirmed. “It’s best when the clothing is sewn by the parents, the grandparents or the godparents.”

She has sewn her daughter’s jacket and the family invested in the silver that goes with the traditional dress. Her mother, Gunnhild Sara Buljo, also contributed to the weaving and sewing that goes into the elaborate and colourful garments.

Her husband handpicked all the cloudberries (multe) served for dessert. Several hundred guests can show up at traditional Sami weddings and confirmations.

“Its important to have traditions,” said Berit Eira. “And we take care of them.”

Berit Andersdatter Buljo Eira (left) makes a final adjustment to her daughter’s traditional handsewn Sami dress before confirmation festivities begin.PHOTO: OLE MAGNUS RAPP

Sara Karen Elle Persdatter Eira admires the traditional wooden chest she received to hold her silver and other items to be used at an eventual wedding. PHOTO: OLE MAGNUS RAPP

Do you know other newspapers like this one? It is quite a good way to be aware of what is happening in the far north, right? At least in Norway. If you find other ones for Alaska, Russia, Canada… Let me know!

Following Aftenposten

August 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Posted in News, Scandinavia, Wheater | Leave a comment
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The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten publishes regularly an English version, that now it is easily accessible thanks to the RSS feeder. They publish Arctic news like this one, coming straight from Svalbard:

Solar eclipse seen by thousands

Norway has experienced its first solar eclipse since 1954. Spectators gathered round a big screen in Oslo to see pictures relayed from a surveillance plane in the Arctic.

The sun was totally eclipsed when the moon passed in front of it on Friday.


PHOTO: STIG FOSS / LUFTFORSVARET

In Oslo approximately half the sun’s disk was covered by the moon. Further north, increasing parts of the sun were obscured. At Longyearbyen on Svalbard, 93 percent was covered by the moon. Kvitøya, an island North-East of the Svalbard archipelago, experienced a total eclipse for one and a half minutes.

Thousands gathered in Oslo’s Frogner Park to see live television coverage from the Arctic, and to see the local partial eclipse through safety glasses.

I will keep an eye on them, let’s say what they say about Nordic people!

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