Beringia: A Shared Heritage

Indigenous dancers in traditional dress.
Dancers in traditional regalia at the 2005 Beringia Days celebration.

Photo courtesy of Vic Knox

This year (2021) is the 30th anniversary of the Shared Beringian Heritage Program. This special issue of Alaska Park Science highlights examples of the variety of projects and the values of the program.

Read the full issue and download a pdf.

Four people stand near the fossilized tusks of a mammoth.
The Shared Beringian Heritage Program staff (left to right): Jeanette Koelsch, Evguenia (Jenya) Anichtchenko, Jacob Martin, and Megan Withers (Nicole Braem is also on staff but not pictured).

NPS/Michael Thompson

Beringia: A Region of Collaboration
Thirty years ago, at the end of the Cold War, the warming in political relations between the U.S. and (at that time) Soviet Union inspired the leaders of these two countries to sign an agreement to foster cooperation in the field of environmental protection, cultural preservation, and the study of climate change in the Bering Strait region. Following this agreement, an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the Alaska Region of the NPS established the Shared Beringian Heritage Program and provided funding for natural resource and cultural heritage projects that bridge the Straits. The program’s key goals are to promote conservation, sustainability, and increased knowledge of the region’s natural and cultural resources; to preserve subsistence opportunities; and to foster cultural connections and the exchange of traditional ecological knowledge in this diverse international area. READ MORE

Traditional dancers of all ages.
Qatŋut Celebration

Qatŋut is a traditional trade fair that celebrates dance, food, culture, connections, and trade among Indigenous Bering Strait peoples.

Currents in the Bering Strait.
Ocean Currents and Food Security

Knowledge of ocean currents, passed down from Elders to youth, is critical to the food security of Indigenous Peoples of the Bering Strait.

Traditional clay pots in a wood fire.
Cultural Exchange and Ceramic Analysis

Ceramics describe the mobility of social networks across Beringia and how people adapted to changing environmental & social conditions.

Youth look closely at a soil core.
Nome Archaeology Camp

High school students from across Alaska learn about the cultural heritage of the Bering Strait—past and present.

Youth stand on a coastal cliff photographing birds.
A Thousand Miles of Islands

United by natural and human history but separated by nations, youth from the Bering Sea islands come together.

A humpback whale breaches.
Beringia National Park

Beringia National Park is a spectacular example of Arctic biodiversity and vibrant Indigenous culture.

A wildflower in a rocky location with volcanoes.
Floristic Changes in the Aleutians

The islands of the Aleutian Archipelago emerge like stepping stones across the North Pacific, linking Asia and North America.

A spoon-billed sandpiper nesting.
Beringia's Iconic Shorebirds

The Beringia region’s Arctic and subarctic habitats are globally important nesting areas for shorebirds.

Fur seal colony.
Fur Seal History in Alaska

The fur seal industry centered in the Pribilof Islands of the Bering Sea led to international protection.

Reindeer herd on the beach.
The Reindeer Service in Alaska

An audit of the Reindeer Service in 1905 documents the sociopolitical context of early years of Native reindeer herding in Alaska.

Last updated: December 15, 2021