Arctic Social Sciences Program

Image Courtesy Language and Location: A Map Annotation Project.
The Arctic is home to over 40 indigenous languages from at least six unrelated language families: Uralic, Altaic, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, Eskimo-Aleut, Dene-Yeniseian, Yukagir, and Nivkh. Rapid change in the Arctic has led to the endangerment or extinction of these indigenous languages and the relative geographic isolation of the Arctic makes it difficult to track the languages and their changes.


Witness the Arctic provides information on current arctic research efforts and findings, significant research initiatives, national policy affecting arctic research, international activities, and profiles of institutions with major arctic research efforts. Witness serves an audience of arctic scientists, educators, agency personnel, and policy makers. Witness was published biannually in hardcopy from 1995-2008 (archives are available below). Starting in early 2009 the issues have been published online 3-4 times per year depending on newsworthy events. Over 12,500 subscribers receive notifications, brief descriptions of content, and direct links to the articles online.



With the Spring 2009 issue, ARCUS changed the format of Witness the Arctic. To provide more frequent updates and reduce printing and mailing costs and associated environmental impacts, the newsletter is now distributed online in three or four shorter issues per year, depending on newsworthy events.


If you have a question or an idea for a Witness article, contact Betsy Turner-Bogren at betsy [at]

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