Thin Ice: Inuit Traditions Within a Changing Environment

Front Cover
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2007 - Social Science - 80 pages
The earth's polar regions have been the subject of three major research initiatives called "international polar years" (IPY). Beginning with the first IPY in 1882-1883, these initiatives have shared the goal of advancing basic scientific knowledge of the geography and geophysical processes of these remote lands and oceans. International polar year events have always captured the imagination of the public, yet the polar regions remain a distant and disconnected realm for most people. The global science community is set to begin another IPY in 2007-2008 with a special sense of urgency: simply put, the polar regions are a critical part of the earth's climate system, which is now undergoing rapid change in response to human activities. The 2007-2008 events will extend beyond basic studies in the geophysical and biological sciences to focus on global climate change and the research presently underway to advance our understanding of the human dimensions of a shifting Arctic environment.

Climate change is a pressing and much debated phenomenon of our time. Thin Ice accompanies an important exhibition, opening on January 20, 2007 at the Hood Museum of Art, that is one of the first to explore the human dimensions of climate change in the Inuit concept and perception of the Arctic climate as part of their culture. The exhibition presents objects from the Hood's permanent collection--boat miniatures, harpoons, masks, clothing, prints, and canoes, along with photographs--that are deeply embedded in the social and spiritual fabric of Inuit society while addressing the global debate around climate change. The Hood Museum of Art has partnered with the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Institute of Arctic Studies in the development of what will be the first comprehensive exhibition of Dartmouth's Arctic collections and this accompanying catalogue.

The exhibition is curated by A. Nicole Stuckenberger, Stefansson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Arctic Studies, Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College, as part of International Polar Year. At every stage of the exhibition and catalogue project, the Hood Museum of Art, the Institute of Arctic Studies, and Dr. Stuckenberger received support from William Fitzhugh, Director of the Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Igor Krupnik, Curator of Circumpolar Ethnology at the Arctic Studies Center, Kenneth S. Yalowitz, director of the Dickey Center and Ross A. Virginia, head of the Institute and Professor of Environmental Studies, who generously supported the exhibition and catalogue throughout this project. Ross Virginia has spearheaded the programs and conferences at the College in relation to the International Polar Year and is overseeing Dartmouth's role in hosting the international gathering for Arctic Science Summit Week in March 2007.

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Preface and Acknowledgments
Inuit Life and Climate Change
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