[MUSIC] Arctic communities have diverse histories and the various roles that they currently play in local, regional and global economies are just as diverse. The process of colonization, settlement and resource extraction which have occurred during the last 500 years, have carved out patterns of marginalization in many Circumpolar Norths and have been particularly damaging to northern indigenous peoples. In recent years the scope and scale of globalization has increased so quickly that Arctic communities, already vulnerable, are facing new kinds of challenges in ensuring their own sustainability. At the same time, communities across the North, like other communities around the world, have also demonstrated flexibility and resourcefulness to adjust to these processes so they can thrive within this ever-changing global system. Throughout this MOOC we will investigate these challenges and look at how Arctic communities can adjust to change while also maintaining their ways of life, each with its own foundation of socio-economic and cultural tradition, in the midst of an ever-shrinking and dynamic world. We will get there in four main stages. The first stage of our journey into the Arctic begins with understanding the people, we will introduce you to a diverse array of Arctic communities across the Circumpolar North. A basic understanding of the geography, culture, and history of these regions, along with a few concepts and theories along the way will help us understand the recent changes that have caused so much disruption across the Arctic. Once you have a basic understanding of each region, we will more deeply examine their historical and contemporary economies and look at some key concepts that will help us understand how northern communities have been engaged in the global economy and what the future might hold in coming decades. Third, we will focus on the rise of globalization and the sweeping changes it has brought to Arctic communities. We'll also look at the problem of how to manage the tensions that arise between local and global communities. And finally, we will look at the different modes of Arctic governance and examine some of the strategies and tools Northern communities are using to secure the sustainability of Arctic communities and ecosystems. And so, let's start at the beginning. >> Most people understand the global Arctic is an extremely important region, but because it is so far away from where most of us live, it's hard to imagine what it is like to live in Russia, Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, or the Nordic region. Although most people likely imagine the North's barren landscape devoid of people, it is the homeland of millions of people, and we have much to learn from them. Because we can't take you there physically and you have the opportunity to travel North of the 60th parallel, we will take an imaginary walk around the Arctic Circle. As we present to you with some information about the various regions that make up the global Arctic, the people, the geography, the history, try to picture what it would be like if you lived there with your family. Obviously it's a poor substitute for actually visiting a place, but it's a start. When many people think about the Arctic, they picture ice and indeed, for many explorers, scientists, and others, the the icy seas around the North Pole are the focal point of the region. However, the Arctic is much more than frozen water. In technical terms, the Arctic includes all the land from the North Pole down to the tree line. Scientists also refer to this area as the tundra. But, these are not terms or definitions at the Northern people use. For instance, the Inuit refer to most Canadian Arctic, including the sea ice, as Nunavut, Nunavik, or Nunatsiavut, which all mean "Our Land" in English. Similarly, the Dene-speaking First Nation who live beyond the tree line refer to the region as Neneh or Denendeh. They claim it as their land based on their history, land use and occupancy, which means that they have long histories of living in and using those landscapes. Some Dene people say that they know their land because their footsteps are out there. These discussions of ownership are complex. The Arctic is a tremendously dynamic, political space. Traditions of land use and sovereignty have changed over time with treaties, land claim settlements and changing access to natural resources. Therefore, the Arctic cannot solely be understood as an ecological area. It is a social, political and cultural space defined by people's different histories, political identities and economic interests. Knowing the Arctic requires a thought-out consideration of all of these concepts. Although we have started out by discussing the Arctic in very broad terms as one place, it is not a space of sameness. It is a diverse complex of cultures, economics, and communities. Across the Arctic, more than 40 languages are spoken. The population of the Arctic according to the Arctic Human Development Report is just over 4 million and includes people who inhabit Alaska, Canada, Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Russia. These regions are culturally, ecologically, and economically diverse. >> Outsiders have typically seen the Arctic as a shipping and resource frontier to explore and exploit. European explorers, such as MacKenzie and Franklin, sought to conquer the Arctic, hoping to discover the Northwest Passage, an ice-free waterway that would connect Canada to Asia. Dutch seafarer, Willem Barentsz, also searched for the Northwest Passage. He never found it, but did discover other places, including Spitsbergen. Later, Jens Munk, hunting for the Northwest Passage on behalf of the Danish Norwegian King, led two Expeditions in 1610 and 1619. The second trip ended in disaster when his entire crew succumbed to scurvy while they wintered in Hudson Bay. Munk and just two other men made it back to Norway. At the same time, Russian explorers continually ventured into the Arctic to find trade routes and natural resources to help build the Russian Empire, and later, the Soviet Union. The discovery of gold in what is now called Alaska and the Yukon, in 1890, ignited one of the greatest mineral staking booms in North American history. Over 100,000 people flooded north to seek their fortunes. While many perished along the infamous Klondike Route, others completed the journey and settled there. The Russian North has also been a major frontier of exploration for centuries. The first period of Arctic exploration in Russia began with the construction of the Arkhangelsk Port in 1584, which sparked conflict with the Dutch and British over what is now called Siberia. The period of exploration under Peter the Great, between 1733 and 1749, built on the public's fascination with the Arctic as a frontier for development and resulted in many significant scientific discoveries. While these activities were part of the European Enlightenment, in many cases, they brought harm to the Indigenous Peoples who lived there. However, this phase of exploration pales in comparison with the program of northern exploitation enacted during the Soviet era. In 1925, government officials compelled people to settle across the North and use gulag prisoners and forced labor to build a network of mines, roads and work camps to supply other parts of the Soviet bloc. In search of the gold rush to rival the Klondike and eager to claim the North Pole as Soviet territory, the U.S.S.R. made massive investments in the Arctic during the Cold War of the 1960s and '70s. As a result, the Arctic became a major focus of cultural lore. Exhibits about the North Pole fascinated countless admirers, and explorers were celebrated as Soviet heroes. >> We often talk about the Arctic as if it is one homogeneous place, and while the people and geography of the many Arctic regions share many traits, the Arctic as a whole is a rich and diverse network of 15 different regions. Just over 4 million people live in the Arctic and each distinct region has a unique cultural and economic history. But for our purposes, we will group these diverse regions into what we call the Four Arctics. They are the North American Arctic, the Russian Arctic, the Nordic Arctic, and the Indigenous Arctic, which spreads across various parts of the first three. The first of the Four Arctics is the Indigenous Arctic. Rather than encompassing a specific geographical area as the next three Arctics do, the Indigenous Arctic encompasses the many indigenous communities that live across the Arctic. While these communities are each unique, they also share enough similarities that it is sometimes helpful to think of them as a single group. The indigenous cultures at the Circumpolar North are thousands of years old. If you were to travel to the Arctic, you would not likely find these histories written down, since most indigenous cultures are founded on oral traditions. Nevertheless, a lot of evidence of the historic indigenous cultures are available to us in the form of altered landscapes, material artifacts, and the cultural traditions of storytelling and song. For example, Inupiat and Sami caribous and reindeer fences, Inuvialuit inukshuks, Gwich'in trails, Sahtu and Tli Cho moosehide canoes, Denesoline sacred sites, and Inuvialuit whaling camps all offer insights into the cultures and economies that have developed over many generations across the Circumpolar North. Indigenous placenames are a different kind of artifact that also offer important insight into the nature of indigenous cultures and economies. However, the process of colonization has made them more difficult to find. In northern Canada and Alaska, for example, many placenames for lakes, rivers, communities, and other landscape features were recorded by early British explorers. Historically, many places, including sacred sites, were not respected or well understood by explorers, settlers, and developers. As a result, an important part of indigenous culture and history was pushed aside. As part of Canada's interest in decolonization, there is a current effort to recognize the historic and indigenous placenames of many communities and landscape features. Going back to the original indigenous placenames enables us to understand the many meanings that people attached to those places. The original placenames are like doors that lead us back in history so that we can better understand how people use those places and why they matter to local economies. It's also important to remember that the colonizers' tendency to ignore and replace indigenous placenames was just one part of a process by which they appropriated these places, along with the resources associated with them, for their own economic purposes. This established a pattern of settler communities refusing to recognize the value of places to indigenous peoples along with their legal rights to the resources contained in them. Though some progress has been made in this area, the pattern is still pervasive today. Take a look at an average map of the Circumpolar North. How many of these placenames seem to reflect indigenous histories compared to those that reflects the processes of colonization? Today, in spite of colonization, many indigenous Arctic communities are growing. Worldwide, the Arctic population has actually declined since 2000 thanks to continuous southward immigration among the people of the Russian Arctic who make up nearly half of the global Arctic population. Migration in and out of the North is largely driven by economic opportunities with young adults moving most often. However, in spite of this, the indigenous populations of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic are all growing faster than the overall national rates. People in the North tend to have bigger families than average across the OECD countries. Family is very important to indigenous communities and so many Northerners see the continuation of large families as a positive trend. At the same time, there is concern about whether there are enough employment opportunities and other kinds of work to meet the needs of a growing, youthful population. Another concern connected to population growth is the present housing crisis. Some communities are experiencing severe housing shortages and overcrowding presents major challenges related to education and health care. People in the Arctic regions also face higher than average mortality rates. This has historically been attributed to higher than average rates of infectious diseases like tuberculosis. But today, northern communities, along with the rest of the world, are seeing increased mortality from chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This trend is certainly not unique to the Arctic, but because the Arctic is connected to the rest of the world, it has not escaped this global epidemic. When we consider the sustainability of northern economies, broader issues of well-being in the Arctic communities are important factors. The sweeping changes that indigenous communities have experienced across the Arctic, including loss of access to land and resources, forced relocation and residential school coupled with poor access to housing, education and employment have created cycles of poverty and poor social conditions. At the same time, northern communities are incredibly resilient and highly innovative in their efforts to create new and sustainable economic opportunity.