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In the Footsteps of Rasmussen: Objective

From 1921-1924 Knud Rasmussen crossed the roof of the world, from Greenland to Alaska, meeting, as well as, travelling and living with local Inuit groups along the way. Rasmussen's journey was a continuous expedition. The "In the Footsteps of Rasmussen Project" is a series of smaller expeditions visiting many of the same locations and groups, nearly 100 years later, by dog team, snow-machine, kayak, and overland vehicle.  

The goal is similar to Rasmussen's, to observe and document contemporary native culture along the route, but to also document changes throughout the region in culture, climate, flora, fauna and geography.  

Since Rasmussen's day, the arctic region he explored has been changing, with many of the most dramatic changes developing in the past 30 years. An important objective of this project is to bring light to these changes, and to document the changes and to compare the region with Rasmussen's arctic world.

Focus and Goals


Modern developments in Traditional Culture:

  • Explore the use of sled dogs in the contemporary arctic.
  • Document the varieties of sled dogs, working dogs and village dogs across the arctic from Greenland to Western Alaska.
  • Document current dog sledding equipment across the arctic, and compare with equipment from Rasmussen's era.
  • Examine the role of kayaks and paddle craft in the contemporary arctic and document current trends in coastal watercraft usage.
  • Document housing, material culture and diet, with focus on current role of hunting and locally harvested animals in diet and material culture. 

Impacts of Climate Change on landscape, wildlife and culture:

  • Gather anecdotal/ personal accounts of climate change by local peoples
  • Document habitat loss and the impact on wildlife species
  • Photograph prominent landmarks and areas for comparison to historic photos
  • Note/Journal daily temperatures along our travels to compare with historical averages
  • Gather and Share Arctic Climate Change information with followers of Project


Sharing the Arctic- Passing on the Experience and Information:

  • A series of short video-logs from locations along the way.
  • Travel logs/ Blogs with regular updates from the journey.
  • Public Speaking engagements
  • Magazine articles
  • Book, "In the Footsteps of Rasmussen" to be timed with Centennial.
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