News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday November 25th 2017
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International Polar Year Speaker Series 2007-2008

Northwest Campus, UAF Marine Advisory Program,

and the Bering Strait School District

The clips below are displayed in reverse chronological order.

TOPIC: Alaska Native Artists: Then & Now

April 22, 2008

In this slide presentation, King Island artist  of Nome will discuss his own work and that of several other prominent contemporary Alaska Native artists. Learn about how these artists are moving away from the familiar art forms and materials of rural Alaska. They are combining academic art studies with traditional themes to create bold new pieces.

TOPIC: Eskimo Languages of Bering Strait and Beyond

April 15, 2008


The Bering Strait region is home to the world’s greatest diversity of Eskimo languages, with Inupiaq, Central Yupik, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and even Naukan Yupik in Siberia. This talk will explain how this situation came to be, what the languages and dialects are and how they are related, and their value to Alaska and the world. Samples of the languages will be presented along with relevant publications.

Lawrence Kaplan is professor of linguistics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and director of the Alaska Native Language Center. His primary linguistic work has been with Inupiaq, and he has spent time with several Bering Strait groups, mostly recently the King Islanders. Kaplan edited the book King Island Tales, in which King Island elders talk about history and personal experiences of their community.

TOPIC: Storms of the Bering Sea: Not Just Leftover Typhoons

January 29, 2008

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Every fall brings storms that pound the west coast of Alaska. Where do they come from and why do they cause so many problems? This talk will explore the life-cycles of these dangerous events. Most storms in the Alaska region start life elsewhere but often they receive a powerful burst of new life over the Bering Sea. This turns a dying system into a potential killer that creates real hazards for anyone who makes a living on the ocean, inshore or out at sea, and that brings damaging coastal erosion and possible long-term impacts in the coastal zone.

David Atkinson is an assistant professor who teaches in the Atmospheric Sciences Department and conducts research at the International Arctic Research Center, both at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He focuses on high latitude storms and their interaction with arctic coastal regions. David is a child of the north, being born in northern Alberta in Canada, and his entire academic and working career has dealt with arctic issues.

TOPIC: Bering Strait Artifacts, European Museums, and World History

January 15, 2008

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Most of us have seen impressive examples of Bering Strait tools and artifacts, but would it surprise you to know that some of the oldest Bering Strait ethnographic objects are housed in European museums? Beginning in the 1700s, Russia and Great Britain sent naval ships to the western arctic. The two countries were competing to find the Northwest Passage and to establish trading posts in the fur-rich north. As part of their quest, officers were ordered to collect and trade tools with indigenous residents of the Bering Strait both for scientific inquiry and as “trophies” of their travels. Upon returning home, the officers presented these objects to various museums. This presentation will explain where historic Bering Strait ethnographic object collections are within European museums and describe how each collection got there.

Amber Lincoln is an anthropology doctoral candidate at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She studied at UAF and then went to the United Kingdom for graduate school.

TOPIC: Sea Ice Monitoring and the Bering Strait

November 27, 2007

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The narrow Bering Strait acts as a “choke point,” controlling the exchange of water between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This makes St. Lawrence Island a perfect platform for observing changes in sea ice and the oceans during subsistence and commercial harvests, through the community-based Arctic Observing Network.

Researcher Susan Sugai will discuss recent findings on climate change involving the Bering Sea, some looming unknowns, and why she believes Bering Strait residents, from elders to youth, are key to developing ways to deal with future climate changes.

Susan Sugai came to Alaska in 1978 as a graduate student and received her Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Alaska in 1985. She is associate director of the
University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Global Change and the NOAA-University of Alaska Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research. She develops, coordinates, and
implements interdisciplinary research and education related to the role of the Arctic and sub-Arctic in the Earth system, and stimulates and facilitates global change research in the region.

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