The AMIQ Institute


Application for Grant


The Amiq Institute is a non-profit organization registered in Anchorage, Alaska, US, and in Canada through the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary, Alberta. Our headquarters are in Canmore, Alberta. The institute's focus is the biological and cultural diversity of Bering Sea.

The Amiq Institute proposes to implement its vast archival collection of photographs, sound recordings, films and videos, and field journals amassed over a period of nearly two decades (1981-1998) documenting contemporary life at the close of the 20th century. and the rapid and chaotic changes to the Aleut culture and environment on the fur seal islands of the Pribilofs, Alaska, and Commander islands, Kamchatka. The collection needs to be digitized for access and distribution to a broad audience for educational and heritage purposes. Funding for this project in the amount of $ 140,000 for the first part of the digitization process is being requested from various sources. This application is supported by the Pribilof Islands Stewardship Program; Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government Ecosystem Conservation Office; Pribilof School District; City of St. Paul; and the St. Paul Island Heritage Commission; in Russia by the Aleutsky Regional Study Museum, Nikolskoye, Bering Island.

There is an immanent need for the information we have gathered on these two island groups over the past two decades while living and collaborating with the Aleut people on research, community development and the marine environment. The collection comprises approximately 75,000 still images, 350 hours of film and video footage, and 250 hours of sound recordings in addition to the field journals and diaries over the years. The photographs have been done systematically and sequentially over the years offering comparison and contrast to physical changes in the villages and wild life populations, and to the cultural processes over the years. The sound tapes include rare interviews with elders; rare old Slovanic melodies of the Orthodox church today heard only on the Pribilofs; Aleut language including rare Attuan; church services, social functions, community celebrations, political meetings, etc. as well as extensive wild sounds of seals, and birds.

The primary goal of this project is to provide the Aleut people of Alaska and Russia access to our collection for their schools, cultural and educational purposes and that their generations to come may know of the events, traditions and history we recorded in the last decades of the 20th' century. The materials will also be made available to Alaska Natives, and Native peoples of Greenland, Canada, Europe, and Russia, researchers of the Circumpolar North and all interested peoples of the world, with access to this collection through digitization into CD's and through the internet world-wide. The collection will be a significant addition to Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing and to the development of studies of the Circumpolar North. Because so little has been known of the Aleut people and the fur seal islands, our collections will be critical in filling this gap about Northern Native peoples.

The project objectives are to digitize a significant selection of comparative photographs spanning the years on the Pribilofs and Commmander islands, approximately 1000 or more, and a selection of sound tapes and video footage. Included in the project will be the cataloging of all the materials for access on demand through CD's and the Internet. The hardware and software for the project is being sought through other channels for donations. Personnel and expertise are in place and ready to proceed. We estimate that the project will take two years to complete and be ready for distribution. These objectives will be accomplished at our institute office in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.