New digital resource brings together centuries of cultural knowledge for the first time, showing that networks of trails over snow and sea ice, seemingly unconnected to the untrained eye, in fact span a continent – and that the Inuit have long-occupied one of the most resource-rich and contested areas on the planet.
In 2010, researcher Stephen Leonard began a 12-month research project, documenting the disappearing oral traditions of the northernmost settled people on Earth. Now a short film about his experiences living with the Inugguit, whose way of life is threatened by climate change, is being released online.
Having just returned from a year spent documenting the language and culture of the remote Inughuit community of north-western Greenland, Dr Stephen Leonard describes how he witnessed first-hand the manner in which globalisation and consumerism are conspiring to destroy centuries-old cultures and traditions.
At first glance, reasons for researching locations as different as the Arctic and Mexico are not self-evident. But comparison is at the core of Social Anthropology and, for Dr Barbara Bodenhorn, a dual focus on these remarkably different environments is shaping a cross-cultural exchange programme between young members of three indigenous communities.