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People at the Poles::

The Human Dimension

We mostly think of the polar regions as completely uninhabited. Yet the Arctic is home to four million people, many of whom are indigenous, while thousands of scientists do research in Antarctica every year. Learn more about the lives of Sami reindeer herders, Inuvialuit drum dancers in Canada, Russian children growing up on the tundra, and Icelandic strongmen in the videos below. If that wasn't enough, other films also showcase a quirky shrimp photographer in Alaska, the native cuisine of Greenland, and what day-to-day life is like as an Antarctic scientist.

See the films


Watch all of the short films on the Youtube playlist or use the individual links below. The whole set lasts a little over 90 minutes.

Will This Be the Last Generation of Sami Reindeer Herders? (Scandinavia)

Short film (4:52), general audience

After the Ice Age, the Sami were the first people to move into northern Scandinavia and northwest Russia. But now, as pressures of industrialization and globalization accelerate, the last generation of reindeer herders may be emerging.

Children of the Tundra (Russia)

Medium-length film (28:18), general audience

In this documentary from Russia Today, learn about the lives of the indigenous children of Russia's tundra, who often have to choose eventually between a nomadic life herding reindeer and a more sedentary life in the big city.

I Am The Shrimp Whisperer (Alaska)

Short film (4:21), General audience

A man from the Midwest comes to Alaska on vacation two decades ago and decides to stay. What does he end up becoming? A weekend shrimper... and a shrimp photographer! A great short from Indie Alaska.

The Ulukhaktok Western Drummers and Dancers (Canada)

Short film (8:20), general audience

Travel to Ulukhaktok, a community in Canada's Northwest Territories, to learn about the stirring tradition of Inuvialuit drum dance, which tells stories from living off the land to traveling through music and performance.

Broken Promises: The Arctic Relocation (Canada)

Trailer (4:10), general audience

While this film is just a trailer, it sheds light on the traumatic history of the government's forced relocation of hundreds of Canadian indigenous peoples to the Arctic in the 1950s in order to safeguard national sovereignty.

We Are What We Eat: Greenland | Nat Geo Live

Short film (7:45), general audience

What do Greenland's indigenous people eat (and what do they feed their dogs)? National Geographic shows us that it's much more than just whales.

Gravity Spin-Off Short Film Aningaaq (The Moon)

Short film (16:11), general audience

This short film by director Jonas Cuaron (son of Alfonso Cuaron), with English and French subtitles, is the companion to the space action movie Gravity and offers us a peek into the life of an Inuit fisherman in Greenland.

The Giants of Iceland

Medium-length film (20:38), general audience

Iceland punches far above its weight in a lot of areas: music, art, and of course, tourism. But did you know that it also produces some of the world's strongest men? Check out this short Vice documentary on Iceland's modern-day strongmen.

Find Out What Life is Like at an Antarctic Station

Short film (5:59), general audience

This short Australian educational video talks about the history of Australian science in Antarctica and what it's like for contemporary researchers stationed there.

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