14 July 2016 — Day 1
Blog post by Sarah Baines, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Very warm temperatures (30°C/86°F!) and brilliant blue skies welcomed participants from 13 countries to Fairbanks, Alaska. Today was about building new and reinforcing existing connections between students, practitioners, and academics with shared interests in preserving and strengthening rural peoples and landscapes. We introduced ourselves while on board the sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery, and conversations continued to flow easily as we cruised the Chena River. Accompanying us on the river cruise were the Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers who explained some of the Iñupiaq peoples’ culture and traditions through song and dance performances. A few keen people even joined the dancers for one song, showing off their coordination and rhythm. This small taste of the landscape and peoples of Fairbanks helped set the stage for the upcoming sessions anchored in northern rural settings.