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The way of the Ice

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The way of the Ice

By: Dr. Anna Bjarnisdottír


Published: 23 August 2021


Subject: how climate impacts and affects the lives of the Navitan People.


This study was done over a period of 28 months. It started in April 2016 and lasted until August 2018. In this study I met with important tribal leaders along the coast to learn what they believe and think needs to happen, I also talked to locals about how the melting ice has affected their lives. And lastly I spoke to natives that live far from the sea but depend on the rivers for source of food.


My journey started back in 2002 when I was a young girl, and I watched a series about how the people of Nanaviit lived. Me being a civilized Gotneskan living in a large village I could never understand why the people of Nanaviit were so different and why they chose to live as nomads. I remember asking my father one day about it and he said, “Living a nomadic lifestyle isn’t easy it comes with successes and lots of challenges, if you think about it our early ancestors were nomadic till the dawn of Agriculture, and since then these people have been able to live without having to switch over to.” That got me interested in the study of human evolution and history. 


My first ever visit to the Argic Arctic Coast was my freshman semester of high school, in a random chance our class was picked to visit the Argic Coast for a school project, looking back this had an important impact on the life decisions I would make in the coming years. When I started my final year of grad school, I reached out to a well known climatoist and asked him if he would be willing to help me and a group of college students study the effect of melting sea ice in the Argic Ocean.


In the summer of 2015 me and a group of six colleagues met at a local coffee shop to discuss our plans for the upcoming spring and how our study would work. After three meetings and countless hours of endless discussions and work we had finally settled on what we where doing and to add to our success a college student that didn’t even attend our university showed up to one of our meetings and was like I heard y’all are study on the Navitan people and how the sea ice affects our way of life.  Sigurður the man in charge asked the young man, do you attend The University of Rauðnunger? The young man answered no I do not. And then replied I attend the College of Dail an Earraigh, I’m studying climatology in hopes of getting a degree so I can move back to my village just east of Ellithi. The look on Sigurður was amazing, I could till he was overwhelmed with joy by this random meeting of a college student that was from Nanaviit. And because of this we gained a whole new perspective of what it meant and how important the sea ice was to these people.


The month of our departure was rapidly approvinching, with our team of six scientists, two students, and our support staff. Not including the recently added film team. That was going to make a t.v show off our time talking to all the natives and sit downs with all the scientists to get their opinion of the matter. Their show is scheduled to be broadcasted on Sunday 16  January 2022. 


Now its departure  day, 23 March 2015, to be exact. We all arrived at the airport two hours before our flight was scheduled to leave from Rauðnunger International Airport (RAU)  and arrive at Camp Ellithi Research Station Regional Airport (ERS). The flight is around 5hrs if the winds are light coming from the north, but unfortunately for us it was 7.5 hrs, plus a stop over as the weather in Ellithi was way too dangerous for our plane to land safely. After spending an extra day flying we finally arrived at ERS. This was going to be our home for the next 28 months. After landing we all gathered together and said a quick prayer. Which was one of the highlights of the adventure. 


After our quick prayer we started making camp and organizing our equipment as before we would realize we would be too busy doing our research to do any of this Will organization of our stuff. As we only had Six days to get our stuff together. We originally planned for 8 but because of the bad weather which delayed our flight by one day and later caused our flight to divert to Talúinnuq. The northernmost cordic city in Gotneska. That also has some Nanvaitt influences. The small town was very interesting with its unique architecture because of it being in the middle of Éinauna Grasslands. Sorry for getting off track, back to topic. With our crew settled down we spent the final two days talking to one another about what we thought we might learn, or what some wanted to see be this far north. Knowing the chances they ever come back is pretty low. 


Edited by Gotneska (see edit history)
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