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Arctic Cultural Cartography

Welcome to Arctic Cultural Cartography!

A National Science Foundation project has been underway for several years; an objective is to explore the intersection of native knowledge and landscape-process research in arctic Alaska. We have developed a geographic information system (GIS) database that shows environmental changes based on information from Iñupiat elders and other local experts.

The knowledge and expertise of Iñupiat elders, hunters and berry pickers has been equally valuable in developing GIS layers that address community concerns and interests, as well as identifying geomorphic changes that are occurring at a rapid rate. Elders have identified thaw lakes that have drained over their lifetime, areas where the permafrost thaw and thermokarst has been extreme and locations where sea and river bluffs are eroding.

Please check out this video about our work - click link below:

Conversations on the North Slope of Alaska

During the course of this research, a number of their observations have been corroborated by site visits, aerial photography, and satellite imagery. The material obtained greatly exceeds the scientific scope of the project and has expanded into wider realms including life stories, cultural history, human impacts on the land and environmental ethics.

We want to work together with the North Slope community which will keep this research in the hands of the community as a living document while training students to interview, archive and help develop an exciting GIS and internet site.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under grants 0240174. 0548846,  0539167, 0641623, and 0713813. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We are grateful for logistical support from the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium and the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation.