New Book Reveals Secrets of the North’s Human and Environmental History

Museum Alive! Open House

YELLOWKNIFE (December 14, 2009): A new book published by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center explores the distant past of the Northwest Territories, reaffirming the NWT’s place as a prime destination for members of the scientific community to conduct research into the distant past of the North.Hunters of the Alpine Ice: The NWT Ice Patch Study draws on the expertise of archaeologists, Aboriginal elders, biologists, geologists and educators to give a more complete picture of what the North was like as far back as 5,000 years ago. The book focuses on more than five years of research conducted on the permanent ice patches of the Mackenzie Mountains.

Written by Thomas D. Andrews, Glen MacKay and Leon Andrew, the book is designed as a resource for high school students. Hunters of the Alpine Ice supplements the learning at science camps, held during the summers of 2007 and 2008, when students and elders from Tulita partnered with ice patch scientists and shared their knowledge and experience about the land.

“I’ve previewed the book and some of the discoveries are truly remarkable. Hunters of the Alpine Ice also shows how traditional and scientific knowledge can complement one another,” said Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty.

Illustrated with stunning photography, the book shows how ice patches are more than just deposits of ice on a mountainside. Ice patches are windows into the past of the Earth, and are ideal for preserving archaeological artifacts and biological specimens that would otherwise be lost to history. Now as the Northern climate warms, the patches are revealing their secrets. In 2005, researchers identified a 350 year old willow bow, which allowed them to apply for the International Polar Year funding that supported the project from 2007 through 2009.

The official launch of Hunters of the Alpine Ice took place Tuesday, December 8th in the Council Chambers in Tulita. The public opening included a slide show documenting the research.

Hunters of the Alpine Ice is available from the PWNHC website.

For more information about Hunters of the Alpine Ice, contact:

Amy Doerksen
Manager, Public Affairs
Education, Culture and Employment
Tel: (867) 920-6222
Email: amy_doerksen[at]gov.nt.ca