Arctic Culture and Climate Exhibition - by Agnes
These are facts that I want to share after I enjoyed the Arctic Culture and Climate exhibition at the British Museum just before the second lockdown.
The Arctic is the most northly place on earth centred on the North Pole, its southern border is the Arctic circle.
With wide annual temperature fluctuations, the Arctic has two distinct types of landscape.
-Tundra, a treeless ecosystem
-Taiga, coniferous forests
In the Arctic there are 4 million people still living in a culture shaped by the climate. 400 000 of them are indigenous people with ancestral ties to the Arctic.
The region of the Arctic called Circumpolar is made of 8 nations : Greenland (Denmark) , Canada, Russia, USA, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
These groups share many cultural traits and have been trading and communicating with one another across the Circumpolar North for thousands of years.
The Arctic people belong to over 40 different ethnic groups like the Inuits, Samis, Nenets, Inupiat's, Yakuts…
To keep tradition alive this people use Art to tell stories for example by carving walrus-ivory tusk.
Seals are a reliable source of food and raw materials for both Inuit and Chukchi who are from the High Arctic.
The skin is used for clothing, the meat for food. All the parts of the seals are used there is no waste.
The sealing tradition is a whole system. Seals maintain and return to the same breathing holes in the ice throughout the year.
Their traditions are, for example, holding celebrations to welcome the winter period or for a ritual purification, honouring animals or offering gratitude to the spirits.
Shamans played important roles to ensure a prosperous future. The population liked to carve woods, bones, ivory, create masks for dancing ceremonies and so much more.
Nature made this population who they are, it is their identity.
But there will come a time when the ice no longer forms.
The Arctic is heating more rapidly than anywhere else.
White landmass is vanishing fast on the floor beneath your feet.
Arctic people face directly the climate crisis with water rising.
So we can ask ourselves what is the future of this population?