The Bite Magazine - Autmn/Winter 2020 - Issue 28

Jada Brookes gets educated on the Arctic and its indigenous peoples at the Citi Arctic: Culture and Climate exhibition running at the British Museum. The British Museum biteexhibition Arctic: Culture and Climate Photography: Ian Gillett T houghts of the Arctic typically conjure up images of extreme subzero temperatures and miles of ice and snow with igloos positioned strategically and Inuits (previously called Eskimos although the word is still used in Alaska) travelling around on sledges. is most northerly place on earth is centred on the North Pole with the Arctic Circle on its southern border. With wide annual temperature fluctuations, it has two distinct types of landscape - tundra, a treeless ecosystem, and taiga, coniferous forests. The first Arctic Peoples settled in Siberia around 30,000 years ago. Today, four million inhabitants live within the eight Arctic nations of Russia, the United States, Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Ice- land. Of these, 400,000 are indigenous peoples from 40 dif- ferent ethnics groups with ancestral ties to the Arctic. They share many cultural traits and have traded and communi- cated with each other across the Circumpolar North for thousands of years. The accurate picture of the Arctic isn’t always what we im- agined. The winters are dark with the moonlight reflecting off snow and ice generating dim light and the summers are full of light. However, the intense sunlight reflecting off snow or ice in spring can be very harmful and cause blind- ness, so Arctic Peoples wear hats and sunglasses to protect themselves. In the 19th century, Dolgans from north-cen- tral Siberia made spectacles from pierced metal and beads embroidered onto reindeer hide. Temperatures in the winter commonly reach -40º C and many animals migrate south, while the summers rise to between 30º C and 35º C in areas like north-central Sibe- ria and the Northwest Territories in Canada. The contin- uous daylight in summer generates algae blooms in sea ice habitats, forming the base of the food chain for masses of migrating sea mammals and birds. Local plants and fungi spring to life with berries, greens and mushrooms, support- ing reindeer caribou and other land animals. This polar region located in the northernmost part of the Model of North Siberian Reindeer Camp in Winter