Expedition YUPIK '98

Expedition YUPIK '98 carried out two and a half months of fieldwork in Chukotka amongst the Yupik and Chukchi peoples in the villages of Yanrakynnot and Novoe Chaplino. Fieldwork was also done in the towns of Anadyr and Provideniya. The overall objective was to get a general understanding of one of Russia's smallest minorities, the Yupiget, after the break down of the Soviet Union. Two things became very clear during the research: Firstly, the economic, social, and political circumstances under which the Yupiget live have worsened over the past ten years. Secondly, cultural values of traditional Yupik society became important after the break down of socialism. People needed to build up a new set of living conditions.


An important network of contacts was established during the Expedition YUPIK '98. Without these contacts the Danish Chukotka Expeditions would not have been possible. Mentioned below are some of the important official partners. But of even greater importance - to each individual participant and for the purpose of the expedition - was the meeting with the people of Chukotka who accepted us openly and with great hospitability.

"Yupik", the organisation of Yupiget in Chukotka
The leader of this organisation, Lyudmila Ainana, became a "gate keeper" who helped us a great deal in establishing a network of good contacts. Talking to Ainana we learned about the work of the organisation and about the co-operation with North Slope Borough in Alaska.

Scientific Research Center "Chukotka"
The leader of the station at that time, E. P. Petrenko, arranged our invitations and research permissions. Later on we worked closely with head of section of the traditional resource management, economist V. M. Yetylin, who also made it possible for us to attend the hunters' annual meeting in Yanrakynnot.

Kalaallit Illuutaat/House of Greenlanders in Copenhagen
YUPIK '98 was established in prolonging of "Siberian Days" in the house of Greenlanders during December 1997, where four Yupiget from Chukotka visited Copenhagen.

Department of Ethnography and Social Anthropology, Universtity of Aarhus
The department sponsored the photographic documentations of the expedition. A good many of the pictures were scanned to become a part of the archives of the collections.

Det Groenlandske Selskab, Center for Minoritetsstudier, Forhistorisk Museum Moesgaard, Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC).


After the expedition a report was produced and sent out to all partners in Denmark and in Chukotka.

The Siberian Eskimos and the conditions under which they live - as registered and documented by Expedition YUPIK '98 - has been presented in different places: Department of Eskimology at University of Copenhagen, Folkeuniversitet, LMH School, Hilleroed, Greenlanders' House in Aalborg, Folkeligt OplysningsForbund.

An exhibition was shown in some the Houses of Greenlanders in Denmark and later on in the local museums in Greenland during 2001-2003.


Andersen, P. B. Metoderapport. Department of Ethnography and Social Anthropology,
1999 University of Aarhus

Nielsen, Bent Specialeafhandling: Traditioner. Sibiriske eskimoers kamp for overlevelse i et forarmet postsovjetisk Rusland.
2000 Department of Eskimology, University of Copenhagen.

Nielsen, Bent Eskimoisk sprog i det post-sovjetiske Tjukotka.
2000 INFONOR nyhedsbrev, nr. 2, januar 2000.

Nielsen, Bent Cultural Objectification in Post Soviet Russia: The case of Siberian Eskimos.
In: Caulfield, Richard A. and Mie Kojima: Northern Communities and the global economy.
2001          University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA.

Nielsen, Bent  Eskimoisk kultur tur/retur i et hjoerne af Rusland.
2001 Tidsskriftet "Groenland", nr. 1, januar 2001.

Nielsen, Bent En russisk minoritet praesenteres for et dansk-groenlandsk publikum.
2001        INFONOR Nyhedsbrev no. 2, maj 2001

Expedition team

Peter Brink Andersen. Department of Ethnography and Social Anthropology, University of Aarhus
Ilja Artemov. Department of History, University of Copenhagen.
Bent Nielsen, (head of the expedition). Department of Eskimology, University of Copenhagen


The Expedition YUPIK '98 was financed by foundations and private companies: The Danish-Russian Cultural Programme (Danish Department of Education), Dronning Magrethes og Prins Henriks Fond (Royal Danish Court), the Knud Rasmussen Foundation, Natur og Folk i Nord, Royal Greenland, Schurs Stoettefond, Fjeld & Fritid, Friluftsland.