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Qatnut is one of the oldest known celebrations of the Iñupiaq people in Northwest Alaska. This Trade Fair dates back hundreds of years as a favored gathering place for renewing friendships, dancing, playing native games, celebrating the Inupiaq lifestyle and bartering, as well as learning the latest techniques and experiences from each other. The footage above was taken during the 2013 Qatnut Trade Fair held in Kotzebue, Alaska.
Featured Story Spotlight Archives »RESURRECTING ANCIENT CONNECTIONS THROUGH DANCE
Thousands of year ago, Arctic peoples gathered during the summer near Kotzebue, Alaska for the Qatnut Trade Fair. Strong ties developed between the people of Beringia and this yearly event continued until the "Ice Curtain" between the US and the Soviet Union cut off all communication. In the 1990's, following the collapse of Communism and the melting of the Ice Curtain, the Trade Fair was resurrected as a dance festival and craft exhibition designed to showcase traditional songs and dances and to connect with other communities. In 2013, for the first time in many years, the community was able to host their Russian neighbors from the village of Uelen in Chukotka, Russia as well as from other rural communities in Alaska. The groups have a shared history, cultural connections, and ancient traditions which have been passed down since time immemorial, making this a significant and meaningful event for all involved.
In historic Beringia, the Qatnut (meaning "come together" or "bringing people together" in Inupiaq) Trade Fair was famous for being one of the largest gatherings of indigenous people in the coastal Bering Sea region. (Friesen, 2013) On a site close to the current village, traders came from neighboring villages and regions and from as far away as Siberia. These Siberian (mostly Chukchi) visitors came to trade jade, reindeer skins, pottery and beads for local goods that were scarce near their home in what is now modern-day Chukotka, Russia. There are also local legends that tell stories of love and romance at the Trade Fair. Some of these have a happy ending, where intermarriage between the groups is encouraged and celebrated, but some of these stories have tragic and dramatic endings. These stories tell of fateful meetings and heartbreak; of lifetimes of longing and waiting. It is said that some of the dances performed at the Trade Fair even today came out of these ancient stories of love and loss. MORE...
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. If you want to learn more about the program click here.
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Teleconference on Bering Strait Youth
May 6, 2015
Bering Strait Messenger Network is scheduled to hold their next teleconference on Bering Strait Youth on Friday, May 12 at 2:30 pm Alaska time. To call in use a toll-free number 1-866-398-2885 (passcode 261004#). If you would like to see the complete 2015 teleconference schedule follow this link. If you missed one of the teleconferences you can listen to them here. »
November 26, 2014
The Beringia Program has a number of new publications available:
- • Arrows and Atl Atls: A Guide to the Archeology of Beringia by James Dixon;
- • Edible Plants Used by Siberian Yupik Eskimos of Southeastern Chukchi Peninsula Russia by Lyudmila Ainana and Igor Zagrebin;
- • Listen and Learn: Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik Language and Culture Video Lessons by Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center. 0l> All of these publications are free and can be ordered by calling (907)644-3602 or e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. »
2015 Project Proposals Review and Selection
November 10, 2014
The Beringia Panel annual meeting and proposal review was held in Anchorage November 10, 2014. The results of the project selection will be announced on this site shortly. To learn more about the selection process follow this link. »