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A new "genetic prehistory" provides the best picture ever assembled of how the North American Arctic was populated, from 6,000 years ago to the present.

DNA sequences from living and ancient inhabitants show a single influx from Siberia produced all the "Paleo-Eskimo" cultures, which died out 700 years ago.
Modern-day Inuit and Native Americans arose from separate migrations.
Previously our understanding of this history was based largely on cultural artefacts, dug up by archaeologists.
The study, which has more than 50 authors hailing from institutions across the globe, was published in the journal Science.

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The Inuit sitting on billions of barrels of oil

After a decade of legal wrangling and spending $4.5bn (£2.8bn), this year Shell Oil was given permission to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska. But many in the local Inuit community are concerned it could have a devastating impact on one of their main sources of food - the bowhead whale.
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The Snow Walker

 

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The Snow Walker is a 2003 Canadian film based on the short story "Walk Well, My Brother" by Farley Mowat. It was written and directed by Charles Martin Smith and starred Barry Pepper, James Cromwell, and Annabella Piugattuk.
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Qavlunaat
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There are many stories of 'Qavlunaat,' white-skinned strangers who were encountered in Inuit-occupied lands in times of old. Stories of contact between these foreign people and Inuit were passed down the generations and used mostly to scare children to behave "or the Qavlunaat will get them.
Inuit myths and legends of contact with other people were passed from one generation to the next through story telling traditions. Many people have heard Pete Sovalik, a well-known Inupiaq story-teller tell this shortened version of a story relating to Qavlunaat and other races.

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Less ice in the Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago

Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.

"The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago. We still don't know whether the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland than there is today" - Astrid Lyså, a geologist and researcher at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU).

Together with her NGU colleague, Eiliv Larsen, she has worked on the north coast of Greenland with a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen, mapping sea-level changes and studying a number of shore features. She has also collected samples of driftwood that originated from Siberia or Alaska and had these dated, and has collected shells and microfossils from shore sediments.
Pack-ice ridges which form when drift ice is pressed onto the seashore piling up shore sediments that lie in its path, have a completely different character. They are generally shorter, narrower and more irregular in shape.
The mapping at 82 degrees North took place in summer 2007 as part of the LongTerm project, a sub-project of the major International Polar Year project, SciencePub. The scientists also studied ruined settlements dating from the first Inuit immigration to these desolate coasts.
The first people from Alaska and Canada, called the Independence I Culture, travelled north-east as far as they could go on land as long ago as 4000-4500 years ago. The scientists have found out that drift ice had formed on the sea again in this period, which was essential for the Inuit in connection with their hunting. No beach ridges have been formed since then.

Source Geological Survey of Norway

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It's the oldest whodunit in Canadian history, and new research has conclusively ruled out one of the suspect aboriginal groups behind the retreat of would-be Viking colonists from the New World.
A scientific re-dating of the eastward migration of the Thule -- ancestors of modern-day Inuit -- has pegged their push across Canada's polar frontier to no earlier than 1200 AD. That's at least 150 years after Norse voyagers from Greenland are believed to have abandoned their short-lived, 11th-century settlement at the northern tip of Newfoundland following hostile encounters there, and in Labrador, with native inhabitants they called Skraelings.
Because of their relatively late arrival in northern Canada -- originally set by experts at about 1000 AD -- the Thule (pronounced "too-ley") have always been outside contenders in the long-running quest to identify the people who scared the Vikings out of Canada.

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Paleo-Eskimo
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A 3,000-year-old clump of human hair found frozen in Greenland may have solved a scientific mystery: Where did all the ancient Eskimos come from?

The ancient clump of hair looks like something you'd sweep off a barbershop floor.

"It's kind of brown, got a bit of dirt in it, a bit of twigs, but ... it looks  remarkably good condition" - biologist Thomas Gilbert of the University of Copenhagen.

University of Copenhagen researchers had spent months in Greenland trying to find human remains, with no success. They then learned of this hair sample, which was discovered in the 1980s in Disko Bay, in western Greenland, and was being kept in a museum collection.
And the hair yielded something extremely rare the DNA of some of the earliest humans to live in the Arctic. By studying that DNA, researchers say they've been able to answer a longstanding question: Are modern inuit descended from ancient Native Americans, or did they come from somewhere else?
The answer, according to a new study published in the current issue of the journal Science, is somewhere else probably eastern Asia.

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Northern hunters may have been killing whales 3,000 years ago and commemorating their bravery with pictures carved in ivory.
Archaeologists working in the Russian Arctic have unearthed a remarkably detailed carving of groups of hunters engaged in whaling sticking harpoons into the great mammals. The same site also yielded heavy stone blades that had been broken as if by some mighty impact, and remains from a number of dead whales.

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Atanarjuat is a 2001 Canadian film directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It is also released as Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, which translates the title. Atanarjuat was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut, the language of Canada's Inuit people.

Igloolik is a community of 1200 people located on a small island in the north Baffin region of the Canadian Arctic with archaeological evidence of 4000 years of continuous habitation. Throughout these millennia, with no written language, untold numbers of nomadic Inuit renewed their culture and traditional knowledge for every generation entirely through storytelling.
The film Atanarjuat is part of this continuous stream of oral history carried forward into the new millennium through a marriage of Inuit storytelling skills and new technology.

www.atanarjuat.com

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