Arctic Indigenous Languages

December 26, 2008 at 12:54 am | Posted in arctic, Language, North Pole, Research | Leave a comment
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This is one of the most specific sites I found. Is it dedicated to all of the Arctic languages, so the topic is quite similar to mine. It is packed with good information, I will post something more later on:

Welcome to Arctic Indigenous Languages website.


This website aims to be a resource that strengthens Arctic indigenous languages. It includes background papers and articles related to indigenous languages, video clips of Arctic indigenous people explaining how important their languages are to them, and descriptions of current best practices in the protection and revitalization of indigenous languages.

An interestint section of the page is the one about the state of Arctic Indigenous Languages, where you will find some interesting documents:

State of Arctic Indigenous Languages

saami woman in conversationThe circumpolar Arctic is home to over 40 indigenous languages, with hundreds of indigenous communities spread throughout the circumpolar region – many speaking local variations of their people’s language. Because these communities differ in many ways, including their historical interactions with their colonizers and non-indigenous neighbours, it is clear that there will be many local perspectives and variations in how indigenous languages are currently used in the Arctic.

The articles and links on this page offer recent information on the state of Arctic indigenous languages, though this information is certainly not exhaustive.


Arctic Human Development Report (Chapter 3: Societies and Cultures: Change and Persistence) PDF icon

The Arctic Human Development Report was published in November 2004. The section “Languages: losses and reversed language shifts” on pages 53-56 describes the current state of the over 40 indigenous languages spoken in the Arctic.


United Nations Forum calls on governments to immediately support the revitalization of indigenous languages PDF icon

English | French | Inuktitut | Inuinnaqtun

May 27, 2008 (Iqaluit, Nunavut) – The Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth welcomes the recent calls for action from the international community to stop the rapid erosion of indigenous languages.


National Inuit Leader Says Census Data points to Call for ActionPDF icon

The President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Mary Simon says Inuit must recognize that the Inuit language is eroding and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to reverse this trend to protect, preserve and enhance the Inuit language and the different dialects that we speak.


Nunavut Examines Indigenous Language Issues
on World Stage
PDF icon

The Government of Nunavut recently returned home after attending the 7th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. The forum is a United Nations advisory body that deals with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights.


UNESCO – 2008 International Year of Languages

On 16 May 2007, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 to be the International Year of Languages. UNESCO invites all its partners to increase their own activities to promote and protect all languages, particularly endangered languages, in all individual and collective contexts.


International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages

Documents from the indigenous experts, UNPFII members, Member States, UN Agencies, Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations who participated in the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages in New York, 8-10 January 2008.


Inuit Language PDF icon

Presentation by Carl Christian Olsen (Puju) at the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages, 8-10 January 2008.


International Day of World’s Indigenous People (August 9th)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, to be observed August 9th, 2008.


Inuktut Uqausiit (Inuit Languages) in Canada – History and Contemporary Developments – Nadine Fabbi PDF icon

This overview of the history and current use of Inuit languages was updated in August 2008 to reflect the latest developments of Inuit languages in Canada.


Preserving Endangered Languages or Local Speech Variants in Kamchatka PDF icon

This paper was prepared for the 12th Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, held in September 2008. It concerns various language preservation projects in the Russian Far East that center on the production and dissemination of multimedia language teaching materials (DVD with textbook) with culturally adapted content, designed for use inside and outside the classroom. They refer to the endangered language of Itelmen as well as to endangered local variants of the Even and the Koryak languages spoken in Kamchatka.

The Polarship Fram

September 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Expeditions | Leave a comment
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I have spent some days at Oslo, Norway. One of the most interesting things I did was the visit of the Fram Museet or Fram Polarship Museum. I had already read about the North Pole explorers, but having chance to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands the Fram – the name means “Forward” in English – they sailed to the very far North was wonderful. This is why I will start a series of posts gathering information about those explorers and their expeditions. It may sound a bit out of place or exaggerated but they really inspire me! The Wikipedia is always a good starting point:

Fram (“Forward”) is a ship that was used in expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Oscar Wisting, and Roald Amundsen between 1893 and 1912. Fram was probably the strongest wooden ship ever built. It was designed by the Norwegian shipwright Colin Archer for Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893 Arctic expedition in which Fram was supposed to freeze into the Arctic ice sheet and float with it over the North Pole.

Fram is said to be the wooden ship to have sailed farthest north and farthest south. Fram is currently preserved in whole at the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Nansen’s ambition was to explore the Arctic farther north than anyone else. To do that, he would have to deal with a problem that many sailing in the polar ocean had encountered before him: the freezing ice would press and crush a ship. Nansen’s idea was to build a ship that could survive the pressure, not by pure strength, but because it would be in a shape designed to let the ice push the ship up, so it would “float” on top of the ice.

Nansen commissioned the shipwright Colin Archer from Larvik to construct a vessel with these characteristics. Fram was built with an outer layer of greenheart wood to withstand the ice and almost without a keel to handle the shallow waters Nansen expected to encounter. The rudder and propeller were designed to be retracted into the ship. The ship was also carefully insulated to allow the crew to live onboard for up to five years.

Scott Polar Research Institute

August 20, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Education, Research | Leave a comment
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Another cold website, this time is the turn of Scott Polar Research Institute:

Scott Polar Research Institute

Welcome to SPRI

The Institute is a well-known and long-established centre for research into both polar regions. It is part of the University of Cambridge and is a sub-department of the Department of Geography.

We have several research groups investigating a range of issues in both the environmental sciences and social sciences of relevance to the Arctic and Antarctica. Our polar library, which includes the Shackleton Memorial Library, has comprehensive holdings of scholarly books and journals on polar research, with exceptional archival collections from the exploration of the Antarctic and Arctic. We also have extensive online resources, including bibliographic and other information.

Around 60 academic, library and support staff, together with postgraduate students, associates and fellows attached to our research programmes, are working in the Institute, providing a strong core of intellectual activity focused on the Arctic and Antarctic and their adjacent seas.

We offer two Graduate Degree courses; a one-year Master’s Degree (M.Phil.) course in Polar Studies, and a three-year Doctoral Degree course, leading to a Ph.D. degree. Both courses are closely tied to the research activities of the Institute.

Research

We have several research groups investigating a range of issues in the environmental sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities of relevance to the Arctic and Antarctica:

– Glaciology and Climate Change Group.
– Glacimarine Environments Group.
– Polar Landscape and Remote Sensing Group.
– Polar Social Science and Humanities Group.
– Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group (HiPP).

In addition, the Institute is part of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.

The most interesting part for my project is the Polar Science and Humanities Group. They are running a bunch of interesting projects:

Polar Social Science and Humanities

Staff and students

The following scientists at the Scott Polar Research Institute are involved in the activities of this research group:

– Academic staff: Dr Michael Bravo, Dr Piers Vitebsky.
– Institute Associates: Prof Valerie Alia:(indigenous and northern media; media representations of polar peoples; Inuit naming; names, identities, politics and power; media ethics; research ethics), Keith Hill (transport, telecommunications and economic development in the Russian Far East; 18th century German scientists in Siberia), Dr Florian Stammler, Dr John Tichotsky (Regional economic development in Siberia, Alaska, Mongolia and China), Dr Emma Wilson.

Research students

– Elizabeth Beiswenger: indigenous political representation and self-government in the Chukotka Autonomous Region.
– Mark Dwyer: spatial modelling of pasture use by Komi reindeer herders
– Janne Flora: suicide and personhood in Greenland.
– Stephanie Irlbacher Fox: the development of political institutions in the Canadian North.
– Otto Habeck: the future of reindeer husbandry in the Komi Republic
– Sean Maher
– Traplines and Tar Sands: an Ethnographic Analysis of Intersecting Economies in a Subarctic Indigenous Community.
– Richard Powell: field practices and environmental science in the Canadian Arctic, 1950-2000.
– Hugo Reinert: political epistemology of reindeer herding in the Norwegian Arctic.
– Elena Khlynovskaya Rockhill: the institutionalisation of children in Magadan.
– Steven Sawhill: environmental diplomacy in the Barents Region; the decentralisation of foreign affairs.
– Olga Ulturgasheva: narrative and concepts of memory among the Eveny of northern Sakha (Yakutia).
– Sam Van Vactor: energy economics and gas pricing in northeast Asia
Kostas Zorbas; patients’ experience of shamanic healing in Tuva, Siberia
Movements: A Comparative Study of Nunavut, Canada and Tuva, Russian Federation.

It is a pity they do not have RSS to follow them. I will have to come back to the old method: memory!

Sundog Light Phenomenon in Manitoba

July 21, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Photography, Wheater | 1 Comment
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I just received this at my inbox from National Geographic:


Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, “Refuge in White: Winter in a Canadian National Park,” December 2005, National Geographic magazine

A solar phenomenon known as a sundog arcs over the tundra in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Sundogs are fairly common occurrences in the Arctic and Antarctic. They form when the sun is near the horizon and ice crystals high in the sky line up in a way that bends the solar rays like a prism.

This is amazing, isn’t it? So I continued searching:

A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, for “beside the sun”) is a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously.

Sundogs typically, but not exclusively, appear when the sun is low, e.g. at sunrise and sunset, and the atmosphere is filled with ice crystal forming cirrus clouds, but diamond dust and ice fog can also produce them. They are often bright white patches of light looking much like the sun or a comet, and occasionally are confused with those phenomena. Sometimes they exhibit a spectrum of colours, ranging from red closest to the sun to a pale bluish tail stretching away from the sun. White sundogs are caused by light reflected off of atmospheric ice crystals, while colored sundogs are caused by light refracted through them. White sundogs are also thought to be caused by the light from the sun reflecting off of water on the ground and focusing the reflected light on the clouds above.

More info on the Wikipedia.

Hands off the Arctic

April 6, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Environment | Leave a comment
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Greenpeace is running a campaign trying to protect the poles, specially the North pole. I know I am not being original saying that politicians suck, but I feel like saying it. Apart of that, here you have the info about the campaign:

Global warming is melting the Arctic at an alarming pace. As a result, a host of countries are seeking to drill for the oil and gas once protected by ice. The more oil and gas we burn, the faster the Arctic melts and the closer our planet comes to catastrophic climate change.

It’s a sad irony. In attempting to secure “rights” to Arctic fisheries, new transport routes, oil, gas and mineral resources, countries gain a vested interest in the continued melting of the Arctic.

And as the political and military jockeying for control of the far north continues, the ice melts away. Researchers are now saying we could have ice-free summers in the Arctic by 2040.

World Park Arctic can be a reality. The precedent is already established. Thanks to public pressure, Antarctica already has the same kind of protection the Arctic needs.

Now let’s make some noise to make it happen.

And, if you want to support it, sign here!

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