group photo of event
Beringia Days 2013

NPS/Jeff Rasic

Beringia Days International Conference

The Beringia Days International Conference is a public forum sponsored by the National Park Service that highlights the heritage shared by the United States and Russia. The conference brings together the Native peoples of Alaska and Chukotka, Russian and American scholars, researchers, environmentalists, and representatives of government and non-government organizations. Fourteen conferences have been held, alternating between Russia and the U.S., since 1997.

The most recent conference held in the U.S. in 2011 brought together 250 Russian and American participants in Nome, Alaska to celebrate the shared heritage and resources of the Beringia Region. The conference also provided a forum for information sharing about projects funded through the National Park Service's Shared Beringian Heritage Program.

In 2013, a small delegation from the Alaska Region of the National Park Service (NPS) attended the 2013 Beringia Days in Anadyr, Chukotka. This was the first Beringia Days held after the Russian designation of Beringia National Park. In addition to the three NPS employees who attended, the NPS funded a delegation of community leaders from the around the Beringia region.
Family members from the US and Russia meet.
Alysha Owens of Kotzebue meets her cousin Alexander Eynetegin from Russia.

Northwest Arctic Borough

Qatnut Trade Fair

Thousands of year ago, Arctic peoples gathered during the summer near Kotzebue, Alaska for the Qatnut Trade Fair. 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. 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.

from Qatnut Trade Fair
Local crafts on sale at the 2013 Qatnut Trade Fair.

NPS/Elizabeth Shea

Relationships between Alaskan villages and their counterparts in Russia were renewed in the 1990s and the community of Kotzebue initiated a revival of the Qatnut Trade Fair in 1996 as a dance festival and craft exhibition. Since then it has been a regular summer event in Kotzebue, bringing dancers and artists from many locations in Chukotka and around the State of Alaska. The event celebrates the shared history of people on both sides of the Bering Strait, cultural connections, and ancient traditions that have been passed down since time immemorial. The National Park Service’s Western Arctic Parklands in Kotzebue and the Shared Beringian Heritage Program help to support the annual cultural exchange, to celebrate and recognize the shared traditions that are the fundamental building blocks of strong and resilient connections.

Last updated: July 27, 2017