Shop Windows to the Universe

Please help support Windows to the Universe, and our activities to help Earth and space science teachers, with a tax-exempt donation today!
This photo was taken in November 2006 near a town called Nes in the Nenets Autonomous District in Northwest Russia. The Nenets people are indigenous people in Russia that live in the Arctic region. Think of what it would be like to open your door to spy a reindeer in the morning!
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Julia Vishnevets

Arctic Cultures

Inuit

Inuit people live in the chilly northern parts of Canada, Alaska (USA), Siberia (Russia), and Greenland. There are many different groups of people in this large area. Most have similar ways of living in the Arctic. Inuit traditionally hunted for seals, whales, polar bears, caribou, birds and other animals from the Arctic ocean and Arctic tundra. The magical appearance of the aurora in the night sky, the long dark winters, and the icy Arctic Ocean inspired the myths of the Inuit people. Learn more about Inuit culture by clicking on the links below.

Norse

Norse people were originally from the northern part of Europe. More than a thousand years ago, groups of Norse explorers and warriors called Vikings settled in other places in the Arctic such as Greenland, Iceland, and northern Russia. Today, many people living in these countries are relatives of the Norse. The Norse got to these new places by boat. Norse people knew how to make very strong boats. The Norse people, including the Vikings, were known to be excellent storytellers. Explore some Norse myths in the links below.

Norse Myths

The Earth: Midgard
The Sea: Aegir
The winds: Njord
The Thunder: Thor
The sky: Tyr
The Sky: Odin
The Aurora: Freya
The Northern Lights: The Valkiries
The Sun: Freyr
The Planet Venus: Sif
The Milky Way: Bifrost
The Norse Family Tree

Inuit Myths

The Sun: Malina
The Moon: Anningan
The Sea: Sedna

Last modified June 18, 2007 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more

The Aurora

The aurora is also known as the northern and southern lights. They are called northern lights if they are seen in the northern hemisphere and southern lights if they are seen in the southern hemisphere....more

Midgard

In Norse mythology, Midgard is the Earth. It was created when the supreme god, Odin and his two brothers slayed a giant. The roots of the tree reach into the underworld and up into the land of the giants....more

Njord

Njord was the god of the sea and wind in Norse mythology. He was the father of Freyr and Freya. He was married to the giantess Skadi. Skadi was used to living in the high, icy mountains, and Njord was...more

Tyr

In the early centuries after the birth of Christ, Tyr was a powerful god of the sky and war. Warriors would put the letter "T" on their weapons for help in battle. Tyr had only one hand. In order to make...more

Freya

Norse mythology associates the aurora with the beautiful goddess, Freya, daughter of Njord and the giantess Skadi. Freya was the goddess of beauty and love as well as battle and death. Friday was named...more

Valkiries

In Norse mythology, it is believed that the northern lights (the aurora) were light reflected off the shields of Odin's special assistants, the female warriors called the Valkiries. They were often sent...more

Sif

One of the volcanoes on the planet of Venus is named after the Norse goddess Sif. Most of the planetary features of Venus are named after famous women and goddesses . Venus is the only planet named after...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF