Banner photo: Ergyron dancers from Chukotka perform during their visit to Anchorage
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About the Program

The USA, Alaska, Russia, and Chukotka flags sail above the crowd Cooperation between the two nations is manifest as the flags of the USA, Alaska, Russia, and Chukotka sail above the crowd at the street parade in Anadyr in 2003 (NPS photo by Ted Birkedal).

The Shared Beringian Heritage Program resulted from a commitment by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev to expand United States and Soviet cooperation in the field of environmental protection and the study of global change. The natural and cultural resources in the area known as Beringia are of international significance and present tangible proof that the North American and Asian continents were once connected by a vast land bridge.

The U.S. Congress agreed that the shared cultural and natural heritage of the Beringia region and the reestablishment of ties between people in Beringia were of primary importance, and in 1991 directed funding to the National Park Service to establish the Shared Beringian Heritage Program. The Beringia Program receives approximately $650,000 on an annual basis.

Learn more about the history of the program here.

Mission and Goals

The Shared Beringian Heritage Program recognizes and celebrates the natural resources and cultural heritage shared by Russia and the United States on both sides of the Bering Strait. The program works to improve local, national, and international understanding of these resources and sustain the cultural vitality of Native peoples in the region. The program's goals are to:

  • Foster a climate of mutual understanding and cooperation among the United States, Russia, and the indigenous people of Beringia in environmental protection, historic preservation, and interpretation.
  • Support subsistence opportunities within Beringia and recognize the unique and traditional activities by indigenous people of the region.
  • Promote the study, interpretation, and enjoyment of the natural and cultural resources of international significance.
  • Support cultural exchange between the indigenous people on both sides of the Bering Strait.

2014 Program Objectives

The Shared Beringia Heritage Program strives to find new and innovative ways of meeting its mission and goals. In 2014 we are going to develop and schedule all of the program's activities based on the three primary objectives for the year.

Objective 1: Strengthen and develop relationships through more active involvement and meaningful dialogue with a growing local, national, and international audience.

This goal will be met by:

  • Finding opportunities for face to face interactions and personal contacts with communities, cooperators, and individuals;
  • Providing access to the 24 years of project results as a way to give back to the people of Beringia;
  • Using the Program's website, Facebook page, and newsletter to communicate with new and existing audiences in the Beringia Region and beyond.

Objective 2: Provide opportunities for input and involvement from stakeholders on protected area management and the possible designation of an international protected area spanning the Bering Strait.

This goal will be met by:

  • Continuing consultations and facilitating dialog with respect to the designation of an international protected area.

Objective 3: Build upon the relationships with existing partners and ensure that opportunities for collaboration are open to all.

This goal will be met by:

  • Incorporate input and feedback from local constituents by creating an advisory group for the planning of the 2015 Beringia Days Conference;
  • Finding additional sources of funding to support Beringia activities and partnerships;
  • Supporting youth as they move forward with initiatives from the 2011 Beringia Days Youth Forum.
Last Updated: May 21, 2014