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SIKU: Knowing our ice: Documenting Inuit sea ice knowledge and use

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Abstract

By exploring indigenous people's knowledge and use of sea ice, the SIKU project has demonstrated the power of multiple perspectives and introduced a new field of interdisciplinary research, the study of social (socio-cultural) aspects of the natural world, or what we call the social life of sea ice. It incorporates local terminologies and classifications, place names, personal stories, teachings, safety rules, historic narratives, and explanations of the empirical and spiritual connections that people create with the natural world. In opening the social life of sea ice and the value of indigenous perspectives we make a novel contribution to IPY, to science, and to the public.

Chapters (20)

The SIKU (Sea Ice Knowledge and Use) project emerged in response to the growing public and scholarly attention to the environmental knowledge of the Arctic residents, as well as to the rising concerns about the impact of climate change on Arctic environment and polar sea ice. The special momentum for the SIKU project was created by International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008 that launched a new era of international and interdisciplinary collabration and partnership with northern communities. This introductory chapter tells how the SIKU project has originated and developed in 2004–2005; it reviews its structure made of various regional and individual initiatives, and covers major activities undertaken by the team during 2006–2009. It summarizes the key scientific outcomes and public messages of the SIKU project, as well as its contribution to the overall science program of IPY 2007–2008. It ends up with the synopsis of the present volume with the acknowledgements to many institutions and individuals who were instrumental to the success of the SIKU project. KeywordsSea ice-Indigenous knowledge-Inuit-International polar year
This chapter reviews changes in local weather, sea ice, and ice use in the small Greenlandic hunting community of Qeqertaq (population 147) located in the northeast section of Disko Bay, Northwest Greenland. In the 1980s, the island was surrounded by shorefast ice during 6–8 months of the year. Traveling on ice by dogsleds used to be the only way to go hunting, fishing, and to connect with other nearby communities. The Qeqertamiut are highly dependent on sea ice to maintain their traditional subsistence knowledge and economy based on extensive use of the ice-dominated marine environment. In 1987–1988, the author stayed in Qeqertaq conducting meteorological observations and studying the impact of weather variability on sea ice extent, thickness, and quality. Since 1987, the average annual temperature in the Qeqertaq area has increased by more than 3°C, resulting in major impacts to the local sea ice regime. In 2008, the author revisited the community to document how the Qeqertamiut continue to use the sea ice today, under a much warmer climate and higher weather variability. KeywordsSea ice and weather change-Ice use-Greenland-Qeqertaq
This chapter reviews the efforts under SIKU-ISIUOP to expand upon previous research that characterized the importance of sea ice processes, use, and change around the Baffin Island communities of Cape Dorset, Igloolik, and Pangnirtung, Nunavut. In these three communities, local ice conditions are intertwined with daily activities and provide a means of traveling and hunting, as well as sustaining marine wildlife and aspects of Inuit culture. In order for people to effectively travel and hunt on the sea ice, they have to become knowledgeable about the complexity and dynamism of the oceanic environment. Through these understandings and long-term experience and observation, local experts (such as Inuit elders and active hunters) are acutely aware of the local and regional manifestations of climate change, as indicated by long-term changes and increased unpredictability of sea ice. Specifically, Inuit have observed changes in floe edge position, weather, the timing of freeze-up and breakup, ice thickness, and the presence of multi-year ice. This chapter reviews specific indicators used to evaluate sea ice changes, offers a regional comparison of sea ice changes in the three communities, and provides an overview of some of the local implications of sea ice changes. KeywordsSea ice-Inuit knowledge-Climate change-Nunavut-Baffin Island
The chapter discusses the main outcomes of 3 years (2006–2007, 2007–2008, 2008–2009) of systematic observation of ice and weather conditions in the community of Gambell (Sivuqaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The 3-year recording of ice and weather in Gambell by local monitors was a part of a larger observation effort under the SIKU project. Observers from eight communities in Alaska and Russian Chukotka took daily notes of ice and weather around their home areas for several consecutive winters. Data from Gambell are the longest and the most comprehensive within this larger SIKU data set. Observations by local monitors reveal a very complex signal of change that often differs by season or location, even among the nearby communities. The 3-year record of ice and weather observations offers new insight to Arctic climate and ice scientists. It will also help Arctic residents document their cultural tradition, ice use, and knowledge in the time of rapid environmental and social change. KeywordsSea ice-Local observations-Gambell-Alaska-Indigenous knowledge
The hunting success of St. Lawrence Island walrus hunters from Savoonga (Sivungaq) and Gambell (Sivuqaq) is studied in relation to weather and sea ice conditions for the period 1979–2008. Satellite remote-sensing data, including ice concentration fields from passive-microwave radiometer data, have been examined over the entire time series in conjunction with walrus harvest data from two community-level monitoring programs. Important information to aid with interpretation of these data sets was provided by the hunters themselves, in particular through a log of ice conditions and ice use by L. Apangalook, Sr., of Gambell. From these data, we determined which ice conditions (concentrations >0 and <30%) and which wind speeds (1–5 m s–1 at Savoonga and 5–9 m s–1 at Gambell), temperatures (–5 to +5°C), and visibility (>6km) provide the most favorable conditions for the walrus hunt. The research demonstrated that at the local level, though not necessarily at the region-wide scale, the sea ice concentration anomaly is a very good predictor of the number of favorable hunting days. With the exception of 2007 (and to a lesser extent, 2008), negative anomalies (less ice or earlier onset of ice retreat) coincided with more favorable (Savoonga) or near-average (Gambell) hunting conditions, controlled mostly by access to ice-associated walrus. Ice access and temporal variability differ significantly between Savoonga and Gambell; in contrast with northern Alaska communities, St. Lawrence hunters were able to maintain typical levels of harvest success during the recent record – low ice years of 2007 and 2008. We discuss the potential value of data such as assembled here in assessing vulnerability and adaptation of Arctic communities depending on marine-mammal harvests to climate variability and change. KeywordsSea ice-Subsistence hunt-Ice conditions-Pacific walrus-Climate change
Greenland is experiencing some of the most dramatic impacts of climate change in the Arctic. Much work has been done to study these changes through physical science, but little has been done to document the perspectives of local Kalaallit. In 2005, the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Greenland launched the Sila-Inuk project to do just this, interviewing local experts in 23 communities in south, west, and north Greenland. The analysis of this work is still underway and will be presented at the next ICC General Assembly in 2010. This chapter provides a sample of the work and an overview of the Sila-Inuk initiative. KeywordsClimate change-Inuit-Greenland-Sea ice-Weather-Indigenous knowledge
This chapter attempts to place Inuit sea ice knowledge in a broader context, first in connection to the knowledge of other environmental features and second within the practices of Inuit spatial orienteering and travel. The premise of this chapter is that any attempt to understand aspects of Inuit environmental knowledge without taking into account the context of mobility is limiting, as travel was an integral part of Inuit life before their establishment in permanent settlements. Inuit identities and environmental knowledge were historically connected not only to specific places (like a camp or the floe edge) but also, and significantly, to life on the move. The land, the sea, the floe edge, the shores, the sky, and the winds are all inseparable parts of the environment in which Inuit live. This chapter describes the two distinctive environments in which Inuit life takes place, namely the land and the sea, as well as the highly significant environment constituted by the shores, and how they all fit into a broader spatial framework constituted by the winds. The research for this chapter was undertaken in Igloolik, Nunavut. KeywordsInuit-Sea ice-Wayfinding-Navigation-Spatial perception
This chapter provides an overview of the Igliniit project, an International Polar Year (IPY) project that took place in Clyde River, Nunavut, from 2006 to 2010. As part of the larger IPY projects, SIKU and ISIUOP, the Igliniit project brought Inuit hunters and geomatics engineering students together to design, build, and test a tool to assist hunters in documenting their observations of the environment. By combining a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, a mobile weather station, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a digital camera, the hunters and engineering students in Igliniit co-developed and piloted a system that allows hunters to contribute to environmental research in an active way, through the regular use of their environment, documenting observations and experiences in context, as they happen. Despite hardware problems and the challenges of using such technology in Arctic winter, the data collected by hunters provide detailed, dynamic, geo-referenced information about the environment that could otherwise not be collected. With continued development, this technology could be useful in many different regions and applications for understanding the environment and human–environment relationships over time and space. The approach, of supporting local people in their own activities year-round and outfitting them with a simple but powerful tool to document their environmental observations, proves a promising method in future community-based environmental research and monitoring, with applications as well in land use planning, resource management, hazards mapping, wildlife and harvest studies, and search and rescue operations. KeywordsInuit-Trails-GPS-Collaborative research-Geomatics-Traditional knowledge-Sea ice-Environmental monitoring-Nunavut
At Barrow, Alaska, local Iñupiat whaling crews annually construct a network of seasonal trails through the shorefast ice during the traditional spring hunting season. These trails originate at locations along the coast and pass through diverse ice features, including ridged and rubbled ice, new and potentially flooded ice, and tidal cracks, before terminating at the shorefast ice edge where camps are established. The safety of this hunt relies on the careful observation of evolving ice characteristics from freeze-up onward and the understanding of how the interplay between ice dynamics, ice thermal evolution, and ocean and atmospheric processes leads to both stable and dangerous conditions. Partnering with Barrow whalers, a multi-year documentation of whaling trails, alongside a geophysical record of shorefast ice conditions, provides insight into how Iñupiat hunters monitor the development of the shorefast ice throughout winter and spring and how individual and community assessments of ice conditions and associated risks, traditions and knowledge, and personal preference determine trail placement. This contribution also discusses how the documentation of human use of the ice environment contributes to integrated observations of Arctic change and adaptation. KeywordsBarrow-Alaska-Iñupiat-Local knowledge-Shorefast sea ice-Whaling
A team of community and university researchers, Inuit experts, Inuit organizations, and software developers are developing a Cybercartographic Atlas of Inuit Sea Ice Knowledge and Use. In keeping with a cybercartographic approach, the Atlas combines maps with text and multimedia representations including images, sound, video, and visualizations. Ultimately, members of the communities involved in the Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project are interested in evaluating the utility of such approaches for their educational potential as classroom tools, as well as to ensure more dynamic forms of knowledge documentation that can be easily updated and accessed over time. At the user interface level, the Atlas presents documented Inuit knowledge in new and innovative ways. The ability to support innovative representations is underpinned by a flexible data model that is populated with knowledge documented through a participatory mapping process. The Atlas presents a variety of topics including “Our Partner Communities,” “Our Contributors,” and Inuit knowledge of “Ice Conditions” and “Uses.” Future iterations of the Atlas will see a restructured and greatly expanded table of contents and potentially the addition of user-contributed content functionality. KeywordsInuit knowledge-Web mapping-Participatory mapping-Interoperability-Interactive Atlas
The Siku–Inuit–Hila (Sea ice–people–weather) project presents a new approach for collaborative research in the Arctic that links Inuit and scientific knowledge. For perhaps the first time, Inuit have undertaken comparative environmental research in a formal structure: not only comparative across Inuit knowledge and science but also comparative across time and place. By involving local research team members in community knowledge exchanges, we blurred the distinctions between “researchers” and “participants,” giving each team member a variety of roles during the project, including host, visitor, teacher, and student. The exchanges were complemented by quantitative sea ice measurements taken from specially designed local monitoring stations and information gathered during regular sea ice expert group meetings held in each community. Our experiences illustrate that this approach to collaborative research can yield new insights into sea ice processes, changes, and impacts at the local and regional scales.
Complex and ever-changing sea ice coverage results in often highly differentiated spring hunting conditions on an annual basis in eastern Bering Strait. Kigiqtaamiut (Shishmaref) hunters’ way of knowing about biophysical phenomena reflects this variability. A continuously advancing, experientially informed analysis, the hunters’ way of knowing is an ongoing processual engagement in the world. This chapter explores what Kigiqtaamiut hunters know about local sea ice conditions and how they come to make authoritative claims about what they know. A comprehensive analysis of Kigiqtaamiut hunters’ ice knowledge includes an equally critical engagement with the sociocultural mechanisms of local knowledge construction. Drawing upon an experientially driven ethnography of spring-bearded seal hunting conducted over three seasons, this chapter examines how Kigiqtaamiut hunters’ understanding of sea ice and their way of learning are mutually constitutive and inseparable components of Kigiqtaamiut ways of knowing about sea ice in an environment of extreme temporal variability and annual fluctuations.
This chapter presents a descriptive summary of Yup’ik elders’ observations of sea ice formation and change along the Bering Sea coast of Southwest Alaska. In doing so, hunters modestly describe their efforts to negotiate a dangerous and ever-changing ice environment. While it is sometimes assumed that Bering Strait hunters on Diomede, St. Lawrence Island, and King Island hunt in the most diverse and demanding ice conditions in Alaska, conditions on the lower Bering Sea coast are equally if not more challenging due to the complex interplay between tides, currents, and wind. Moreover, as sea ice conditions change, Yup’ik elders’ experiences at the southern limit of shorefast ice take on special significance. KeywordsSea ice-Bering Sea-Yup’ik elders-Indigenous knowledge-Climate change
The chapter discusses a collaborative effort to document more than 120 local Inupiaq terms for sea ice and associated vocabulary in the community of Wales, Alaska, in 2007–2008. The value of recording indigenous words for sea ice as a key to understanding indigenous knowledge of sea ice was first tested during an earlier project on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska (2000–2002). Under the SIKU initiative, more than 20 of such local ice vocabularies were collected in indigenous communities in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia. In Wales, Winton Weaypuk, a boat captain and a speaker of the Kingikmiut dialect, led the effort to collect local ice terms, documented elders’ knowledge about ice, and took more than 100 photos of various ice-related activities in the Wales area. Traditional words for ice, illustrations of local ice forms, and the Inupiaq explanations and English translations collected for the project would be of help to young hunters, so that the knowledge is preserved for future generations. KeywordsSea ice-Wales-Alaska-Inupiaq-Indigenous terminologies
Drawing on examples mostly from Inupiaq and Yupik sea ice expertise in coastal Alaska, this contribution examines how local and indigenous knowledge (LIK) can inform and guide geophysical and biological sea ice research. Part of the relevance of LIK derives from its linkage to sea ice use and the services coastal communities derive from the ice cover. As a result, indigenous experts keep track of a broad range of sea ice variables at a particular location. These observations are embedded into a broader worldview that speaks to both long-term variability or change and the system of values associated with ice use. The contribution examines eight different contexts in which transmission of LIK is particularly relevant. These include the role of LIK in study site selection and assessment of a sampling campaign in the context of inter-annual variability, the identification of rare or inconspicuous phenomena or events, the contribution by indigenous experts to hazard assessment and emergency response, the record of past and present climate embedded in LIK, and the value of holistic sea ice knowledge in detecting subtle, intertwined patterns of environmental change. The relevance of local, indigenous sea ice expertise in helping advance adaptation and responses to climate change as well as its potential role in guiding research questions and hypotheses are also examined. The challenges that may have to be overcome in creating an interface for exchange between indigenous experts and sea ice researchers are considered. Promising approaches to overcome these challenges include cross-cultural, interdisciplinary education, and the fostering of Communities of Practice. KeywordsSea ice geophysics-Sea ice use-Local indigenous knowledge-Sea ice system services-Arctic observing network
Franz Boas, the “founding father” of North American anthropology, has long been credited with many pioneer contributions to the field of Arctic anthropology, as a result of his first and only fieldwork among the Inuit on Baffin Island, following the First International Polar Year 1882–1883. In this new “polar year” the SIKU project has initiated several studies of the Inuit terminology for sea ice and snow, including in the areas of Baffin Island once surveyed by Boas, as well as in the nearby regions of Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador, and Greenland. Also, in the past decade the story of Boas’ fieldwork on Baffin Island has become known in full, in diaries, personal letters, and field notes. This chapter capitalizes on these new sources: it examines Boas’ knowledge of the Inuit terminology for sea ice and snow and its value to current discussion about language, indigenous knowledge, the Inuit, and beyond. It also addresses the so-called Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax debate of the past decades that misconstrues Boas’ use of the Inuit terms and the analysis of the contemporary Inuit ice and snow vocabulary. KeywordsFranz Boas-Inuktitut-Baffin Island-Ice and snow terminology
This chapter provides a linguistic perspective on recent research by anthropologists and human geographers about indigenous sea ice terms in Nunavut and Nunatsiavut (Labrador), providing a basic introduction to pertinent linguistic properties of Inuktitut and arguing that they shed further light on Inuit sea ice knowledge. A number of sea ice terms from the largely unknown Utkuhiksalingmiut dialect are provided. KeywordsInuktitut-Nunavut-Nunatsiavut-Polysynthesis-Terminology-Lexicalization
The analysis of a set of Inuit words associated with the “ice,” collected in west and east Greenland (Kalaallisut and Tunumiisut), shows how polysynthesis works in lexical morphology. Many lexical items can be easily segmented, and a single root can be used as a base for a number of lexical items with a variety of senses. These words often take the form of an explanatory and/or descriptive comment on the reality referred to. They frequently express some impression or certainty deriving from the observation of nature. They may also convey something of the functions and attributes of their referents. KeywordsSea ice-Inuit-Polysynthesis-Greenlandic-Kalaallisut-Tunumiisut
The role and participation of indigenous peoples in international arctic policy matters represents a critical element of meeting the future governance challenges in the region. This chapter describes how the nature of partnerships between scientists and northern indigenous peoples can serve as a model for partnerships of a more political nature. Such partnerships, like those developed as part of IPY SIKU, increasingly have a commitment to sharing and reciprocity that is grounded by in-depth documentation of indigenous knowledge, intergenerational engagement, and investments in capacity. Using the Arctic Council and the status of Permanent Participants as a case study, the chapter examines the current challenges and opportunities in translating these kinds of partnerships into an international policy context. It argues that opportunities for political partnerships between indigenous peoples and nation-states do have the potential to grow if these core tenants are supported.
This chapter assesses the contributions to understanding sea ice in terms of the concept of social ontology, which refers to the web of social relations that give objects their meaning and significance. In the Inuit world, sea ice has a clearly defined set of nomenclatures and toponymies, and is embedded in a rich system of meanings and significance. By contrast the meaning of sea ice in the sciences is different and varied, but it is not simply mechanical or lifeless. Natural historians and natural philosophers are shown to have long contested the broader significance of a sea ice and its philosophical significance in the history of the earth sciences. The predominant interpretation of sea ice as an inert obstacle to progress reflects the social and religious contexts in Europe and America where scientific progress was often closely linked to commitments to economic improvement through commerce, trade, and profitable shipping routes. The essays in this volume, taken together, also represent, a sustained a thoroughly researched contribution to a humanistic understanding of the High Arctic and knowledge of it during International Polar Year 2007–2008.
... In the Polar Regions, the main vulnerabilities arise from sea-ice and iceberg dynamics, rough seas (e.g. high waves, strong winds), icing events, and precipitation that affects visibility or ice conditions (Krupnik, Aporta, Gearheard, Holm, & Laidler, 2010;Lamers et al., 2018;Pizzolato, Howell, Dawson, Laliberté, & Copland, 2016). These vulnerabilities do not materialize independently; rather, they emerge through interactions between users, user characteristics (e.g. ...
... In large parts of the Arctic, small, remote settlements are predominantly Indigenous communities, which maintain strong ties to land-and marine-based subsistence activities as part of the mixed economy (BurnSilver, Magdanz, Stotts, Berman, & Kofinas, 2016;Harder & Wenzel, 2012;Larsen & Huskey, 2015;Poppel & Kruse, 2009). Accordingly, community mobilities in Polar Regions are unique in their use of sea ice as a travel platform, overland mobility mainly being in winter and spring with sufficient snow cover and permafrost stability, and open-water travel with small crafts in the summer (or off the ice edge in the winter or spring) (Gearheard, Holm, Hunting, Leavitt, & Mahoney, 2013;Krupnik et al., 2010). Indigenous peoples have survived and thrived in Arctic regions for generations, and while many communities are interconnected with the global economy, they are still closely connected to seasonal cycles of harvesting country foods (AMAP, 2009;Donaldson et al., 2010;Fondahl, Filippova, & Mack, 2015;ICC, 2015). ...
... In order to prepare for land-based, sea-ice, or water travel, it is common for residents to consult weather forecasts, tide tables, and satellite imagery of sea ice conditions, among other information, by listening to community radio, watching TV, or using the Internet (Ford et al., 2008;Gearheard et al., 2010;ICC, 2008ICC, , 2014Laidler et al., 2008Laidler et al., , 2011Meier et al., 2006). However, significant importance is placed on local/Indigenous knowledge derived from long-term observation and experience that includes intergenerational knowledge transfer and information gained from informal, often inter-personal knowledge sharing networks (Gearheard et al., 2013;Krupnik et al., 2010). Weather is part of a daily conversation and is shared in person with family members or other community members, as well as over the local community radio and via short-wave radio or satellite phone while traveling. ...
Article
The Polar Regions are undergoing rapid environmental change while simultaneously witnessing growth and diversification of human activity. These changes call for more responsive, detailed and specialized weather, water, ice and climate (WWIC) information services so that the risks related to human activities can be minimized. Drawn from an extensive literature review this article provides an examination of selected sectors and their uses of WWIC information services in order to offer an initial understanding of diverse environmental forecasting needs. Utilizing a mobilities perspective we provide a characterization of mobility in the Polar Regions to help contextualize current WWIC uses and needs. Using four illustrative case studies of polar mobilities (community activities; cruise tourism; shipping; and government and research operations) the article explores two broad questions: (1) How are mobilities characterized in the Polar Regions? (2) What is known about the role of WWIC information in Polar mobilities? The findings suggest an incongruence between the information provided and the ways in which WWIC information is both used and needed by various sectors. Knowledge gaps are outlined that suggest more efforts are needed to understand the highly complex set of interconnections between WWIC users, providers, mobilities and decision-making across the Polar Regions.
... Among the environmental sciences, interest in TEK surged in the 1980s (Berkes 1999). In the 1990s-2000s, TEK was increasingly involved in Canada, Alaska, and Greenland, creating a paradigm shift toward the quasisystematic participation or consultation of natives in research (Gearheard et al. 2013): it has also been used in Fennoscandia (Huntington et al. 2004;ACIA 2005;Ford et al. 2006;Oskal et al. 2009;Riseth et al. 2010;Krupnik et al. 2010). ...
... The methods for collaboration with TEK are generally multidisciplinary fieldwork, interviews, questionnaires, community-based observatories (Oskal et al. 2009;Krupnik et al. 2010;Gearheard et al. 2013;Johnson et al. 2016), and the increasingly popular ''knowledge co-production'' with various levels of TEK involvement (Forbes and Stammler 2009;Nakashima et al. 2012;Jagannathan et al. 2020). ...
... TEK-science collaboration is acknowledged as, culturally and epistemologically very challenging: TEK is purportedly ''non-scientific'', difficult to calibrate with the sciences, valuable only locally, and damaged by climate change (IPCC 2014;Ford et al. 2006). However, involving TEK (naturally valuable in itself) can add evidence, inspire new research questions, and allow for some calibration (Huntington et al. 2004;Berkes 2009;Riseth et al. 2010;Krupnik et al. 2010;Callaghan et al. 2011;IPCC 2014;Eira et al. 2018; see references above for Siberia). ...
Article
As with many Indigenous Peoples, the Siberian Evenki nomadic reindeer herders and hunters have observed increasing consequences of climate change on the cryosphere and biodiversity. Since 2017, they have observed previously unthinkable changes in topography. Based exclusively on an Evenki Indigenous Ecological Knowledge system-social anthropology coproduction and community-based continuous observation from 2013, this paper analyses what a Subarctic People observes, knows, does not know, hypothesizes, and models (collectively or individually) about climate change impacts on Indigenous landscape types typical for local river systems. These landscapes are crucial tools for traditional activities. To the nomads, the landscape changes emerge from general anomalies: competition from new plant species; atmosphere–ground–vegetation interactions; icing blisters decrease; rising receding river water interactions; the formation of new soil, ice, and snow types; increasing ground, air, and water temperatures; and the (non)circulation of harsh air throughout the snowpack. We demonstrate the science-like structure and value of Indigenous typologies and hypotheses.
... In the northern regions, including Sakhalin, the local knowledge of snow and ice is crucial for making accurate decisions related to risk assessment and navigation (AMAP, 2011;Krupnik & Jolly, 2002;Krupnik, Aporta, Gearheard, Laidler & Holm, 2010;Pennesi, Arokium & McBean, 2012). These observations are also significant for planning the start of the planting, hunting, gathering and fishing seasons, as well as for scheduling with the authorities the most convenient dates for these activities (Radeny et al., 2019). ...
... Within the International Polar Year (2007, several comprehensive projects on sea ice and local weather perception and documentation were conducted: SIKU: Knowing Our Ice. Documenting Inuit Sea Ice Knowledge and Use (see Krupnik et al., 2010), Our Ice, Snow and Winds (see Bogoslovskaya & Krupnik, 2013) and the Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy (led by C. Aporta). These projects have established two major and complementary approaches to research on the documentation of traditional sea ice knowledge: one primarily focuses on people's daily approaches to the observation of ice and weather; the other engages with sea ice knowledge production, interpretation and classification. ...
... Up to date, the Russian North is scarcely presented in research on vernacular climate knowledge, including sea ice knowledge (but see, e.g. Bogoslavskaya & Krupnik, 2013;Krupnik & Vakhtin, 1997;Lavrillier & Gabyshev, 2017; see also SIKU-Chukotka project in Krupnik et al., 2010). Yet, this vast region is significantly affected by global warming and currently experiences such climate-related hazards as floods, forest fires and melting permafrost (for a good account on climate change in Siberia, see Groisman et al., 2012). ...
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This paper examines vernacular weather observations amongst rural people on Sakhalin, Russia’s largest island on the Pacific Coast, and their relationship to the ice. It is based on a weather diary (2000–2016) of one of the local inhabitants and fieldwork that the author conducted in the settlement of Trambaus in 2016. The diary as a community-based weather monitoring allows us to examine how people understand, perceive and deal with the weather both daily and in the long-term perspective. Research argues that amongst all natural phenomena, the ice is the most crucial for the local inhabitants as it determines human subsistence activities, navigation and relations with other environmental forces and beings. People perceive the ice as having an agency, engage in a dialogue with it, learn and adjust themselves to its drifting patterns. Over the past decade, the inability to predict the ice’s behaviour has become a major problem affecting people’s well-being in the settlement. The paper advocates further integrating vernacular weather observations and their relations with natural forces into research on climate change and local fisheries management policies.
... Despite its importance, few studies have dealt with Inuit ethnoecologies in their arctic homeland. Collignon (2006) does discuss Inuinnait geographies of the central (Canadian) Arctic, and several authors (e.g., Aporta 2009a; Krupnik et al. 2010;Heyes 2011) have examined Inuit understanding of sea ice and its associated terminology, arguably a vital aspect of Inuit "landscape" ethnoecology given its predominance throughout the year and its importance for travelling and hunting. Place names, however, have been fairly extensively documented across the Arctic, particularly in Nunavik (Saladin d'Anglure 1968;M€ uller-Wille and M€ uller-Wille 1983;M€ uller-Wille 1984M€ uller-Wille , 1987M€ uller-Wille , 1989M€ uller-Wille , 1991KRG 2011), and can produce important insights into the kinds of landscape features that are salient for the people using those names (Johnson 2000(Johnson , 2008(Johnson , 2010. ...
... To develop a better understanding of Inuit conceptions of the landscape and its relationship with its inhabitants (plants, animals, and humans), this study aimed to identify and record the kinds of landscape features and habitats Nunatsiavummiut recognize and name. It focused on non-ice and (or) snow features as these have been covered extensively in other areas of the Arctic by other researchers (e.g., Aporta 2009a; Krupnik et al. 2010;Heyes 2011). ...
Article
For Inuit in the subarctic transition zone of northeastern Canada, an intimate knowledge of the environment and local biodiversity is crucial for successful traditional activities. This study examines what kinds of landscape features and habitats Inuit of Nunatsiavut recognize and name. During interviews, community members (mostly Elders) were shown photographs from the region, and were asked to describe and name salient types of places in Labrador Inuttitut. The most frequently reported geographical units dealt with the region’s topography (e.g., ‘mountain’, ‘island’, ‘flat-place’), hydrology (e.g., ‘river’, ‘bay’), and superficial characteristics (e.g., ‘bedrock’, ‘permanent snow patch’). Ecological considerations were also prominent, such as plant associations and animal habitats (e.g., ‘shrubby-place’, wetland’, ‘caribou-return-to-place’). Areas were often characterized by a dominant species or substrate type, being named using the plural form of the species/substrate (e.g., napâttuk ‘tree’/ napâttuit ‘forest’, siugak ‘sand’/siugalak ‘sandy-area’). Some types of places reported by Inuit were significant mainly for traditional activities (e.g., ‘berry-patch’, ‘seal-place’, ‘dry-wood-place’, ‘danger-place’), aiding navigation and resource finding. Integrating Inuit conceptions of ecosystems and their component landscape units with those of contemporary science can improve our understanding of subarctic ecology, benefit climate change adaptation strategies and Inuit language/culture conservation initiatives.
... Through active engagement with the trail and the practice of applying knowledge along it (an education of attention), one develops a deeper understanding of and relationship with the wholistic world, which is often reflected in the richness and level of detail in the associated vocabulary. For example, Inuit have a vast vocabulary relating to sea ice, which demonstrates the importance of being able to describe the conditions and the functional implications of such detailed knowledge for travel and hunting (Huntington et al. 2010;Ingold 2000;Krupnik et al. 2010;Wisniewski 2010). Through this process, the trail becomes a journey, one that encompasses places, movements, memories, events, and social connections (Aporta 2002(Aporta , 2004(Aporta , 2009(Aporta , 2011Heyes 2007;Laidler 2007;Tyrrell 2005;Whitridge 2004). ...
... The difference between wholistic and holistic thus represents a key challenge to integrating shipping governance with Inuit approaches, though it does not make it an impossible feat. Krupnik et al. (2010), for example, demonstrate that endeavours can be successful at bridging across the holistic and wholistic divide through their SIKU Project, an interdisciplinary and comprehensive study of the relationship between Inuit and sea ice. A key piece of this body of work is the participation and involvement of Inuit throughout. ...
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Historically, Inuit have not been participants in the governance of Arctic shipping, but efforts are underway to better account for their concerns with regard to the operations of vessels in their waters through partnerships and other forms of collaboration. To understand and address these concerns, there is a need to understand and appreciate the worldview within which they are based. To support cross-cultural dialogue on shipping matters, this chapter will discuss the worldview of Inuit and the worldviews that are implicit in the governance of Arctic shipping, as well as the challenges of and opportunities for integrating the two. By bringing the ethnographic and anthropological literature on Inuit worldviews into a discussion of shipping governance, this chapter offers insights for cross-cultural collaborations between Inuit and non-Inuit working on matters of Arctic shipping governance in Canada.
... Through active engagement with the trail and the practice of applying knowledge along it (an education of attention), one develops a deeper understanding of and relationship with the wholistic world, which is often reflected in the richness and level of detail in the associated vocabulary. For example, Inuit have a vast vocabulary relating to sea ice, which demonstrates the importance of being able to describe the conditions and the functional implications of such detailed knowledge for travel and hunting (Huntington et al. 2010;Ingold 2000;Krupnik et al. 2010;Wisniewski 2010). Through this process, the trail becomes a journey, one that encompasses places, movements, memories, events, and social connections (Aporta , 2004(Aporta , 2011Heyes 2007;Laidler 2007;Tyrrell 2005;Whitridge 2004). ...
... The difference between wholistic and holistic thus represents a key challenge to integrating shipping governance with Inuit approaches, though it does not make it an impossible feat. Krupnik et al. (2010), for example, demonstrate that endeavours can be successful at bridging across the holistic and wholistic divide through their SIKU Project, an interdisciplinary and comprehensive study of the relationship between Inuit and sea ice. A key piece of this body of work is the participation and involvement of Inuit throughout. ...
... Increasingly noticeable climate changes are perceptible among many different local populations, as anthropologists have shown ( Jacka 2009, Shaffer & Naiene 2011, McNamara & Prasad 2014, often grounding their observations in the experiences of indigenous peoples (Green & Raygorodetsky 2010, Leduc 2010. For example, climate change is altering culturally specific resource use practices, including travel on and use of sea ice (Krupnik et al. 2010), traditional "country" foods [including hunted animals (Lynn et al. 2013)], and irrigation practices as glaciers melt . Accordingly, changes in cosmology, cognition, emotion, and belief may be required for local communities to make sense of these rapid climate variations (Crate 2008). ...
Article
Climate anthropology has broadened over the past decade from predominately locally focused studies on climate impacts to encompass new approaches to climate science, mitigation, sustainability transformations, risks, and resilience. We examine how theoretical positionings, including from actor–network theory, new materialisms, ontologies, and cosmopolitics, have helped expand anthropological climate research, particularly in three key interrelated areas. First, we investigate ethnographic approaches to climate science knowledge production, particularly around epistemic authority, visioning of futures, and engagements with the material world. Second, we consider climate adaptation studies that critically examine discourses and activities surrounding concepts of vulnerability, subjectivities, and resilience. Third, we analyze climate mitigation, including energy transitions, technological optimism, market-based solutions, and other ways of living in a carbon-constrained world. We conclude that anthropological approaches provide novel perspectives, made possible through engagements with our uniquely situated research partners, as well as opportunities for opening up diverse solutions and possible transformative futures. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 49 is October 21, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Perhaps no single ecological feature plays a more decisive role in the well-being of Indigenous peoples in Arctic North America than sea ice, the conditions of which determine how people are able to move freely across sometimes-vast distances in search of both marine and terrestrial resources (see papers in Krupnik et al. 2010). Climate change is the primary driver of serious and lasting changes in sea ice conditions and seasonal ice coverage in the Arctic. ...
Article
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Modern Arctic Indigenous peoples face many interconnected pressures, not the least of which is anthropogenic climate change, which is emerging as one of the most dramatic drivers of social and economic change in recent memory. In this paper, we investigate whether or not insights into premodern strategies for coping with climate change—and especially the “deeper histories” of traditional ways-of-knowing—can play a useful role in future planning, management and mitigation efforts. We do this in two ways. First, we assess this special issue's 17 archaeological case studies, in order to determine whether they are conducted within a framework that is consistent with approaches to resilience in studies of modern Arctic communities. Second, we focus on three climate-driven challenges faced by Canadian Arctic Inuit: safe travel, food security and food safety. For each, we identify specific ways in which studies of past social-ecological systems intersect with modern climate adaptation. We conclude that since archaeological insights highlight the operation of decision-making processes within long-term culture-adaptive trajectories, they can offer unique insights into the much shorter-term processes currently underway. While we highlight many potential directions for productive collaboration, much more work is required in local and regional settings to demonstrate the full potential of archaeology for future-oriented planning and mitigation efforts.
... Such interoperability challenges can be tied to the disconnect between scientists' focus on tracking state variables and system dynamics and outcomes-oriented observing in community-driven monitoring (figures 1 and 4c; Pulsifer et al. 2011Pulsifer et al. , 2014. The latter typically focus on a single topic, but often draw on a broad suite of tracked variables, many embedded in Indigenous and local knowledge (Krupnik et al. 2010). The former, in contrast, attempt to integrate data arising from multiple sources to inform systems-level understanding and predictive skills in a broader range of applications (Lindstrom et al. 2012). ...
Article
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Effective responses to rapid environmental change rely on observations to inform planning and decision-making. Reviewing literature from 124 programs across the globe and analyzing survey data for 30 Arctic community-based monitoring programs, we compare top-down, large-scale program driven approaches with bottom-up approaches initiated and steered at the community level. Connecting these two approaches and linking to Indigenous and local knowledge yields benefits including improved information products and enhanced observing program efficiency and sustainability. We identify core principles central to such improved links: matching observing program aims, scales, and ability to act on information; matching observing program and community priorities; fostering compatibility in observing methodology and data management; respect of Indigenous intellectual property rights and the implementation of free, prior, and informed consent; creating sufficient organizational support structures; and ensuring sustained community members’ commitment. Interventions to overcome challenges in adhering to these principles are discussed.
... Critical scholarship on the humanism of Arctic sea ice has been at the forefront of teasing out more than human ontologies (see e.g. Krupnik et al. 2010). As indigenous scholars remind their readers, humans, ice and animals and land and sea are integrated into one another in complex reciprocal relations. ...
Article
This paper develops further interrogation into ‘icy geopolitics’ and what it might tell us about how we treat substances like ice as geopolitical matter. It brings together various literatures that speak to ice as a substance and substantial matter. Second, ice is represented and experienced in a multitude of ways, from oral cultures of indigenous communities living and working in the Arctic and mountainous environments. This matters again because ice as metaphor is often complicitous with the settler colonial framing of empty, unstable and ungoverned spaces. The paper takes this icy interrogation and brings it into contact with the experiences and struggles of Arctic peoples and states alongside non-Arctic states that seek to press their interests in the midst of ongoing melting and thawing. Icy geopolitics is being reconfigured; melting is said to be ‘triggering’ further expressions of territorial colonization and resource extraction and/or commitment towards indigenous autonomy, stewardship and conservation. The territorial volume is being put to work while at the same time it is being melted, thawed, opened and closed by human and more than human forces.
... Community members depend upon the sea ice and marine ecosystem for sustenance and livelihoods, similar to many other Nunavut communities (Aporta, 2009;Laidler et al., 2009;Krupnik et al., 2010;Gearheard et al., 2013). Marine wildlife are important sources of skins, furs, and traditional or "country" food that "…contribute to the health and resilience of local social-ecological systems" (Tomaselli et al., 2018:2). ...
Article
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Facilitating research and enhancing community research capacity through a partnered approach in Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland of Canada, located in Arctic Canada) presents learning opportunities and challenges for southern-based, non-Inuit researchers and community members alike. This article outlines lessons learned through the Arctic Corridors and Northern Voices (AC-NV) project, which involved 14 communities across Inuit Nunangat. The AC-NV focused on understanding community-identified impacts and potential management options of increased shipping in Inuit Nunangat due to sea ice reductions and a changing climate. The approach used to conduct the research involved visiting researchers and community partners working together with local organizations, and training and hiring northern youth as cultural liaisons and workshop co-facilitators. We strove to develop a model of collaborative partnership and strong north-south research relationships. In this paper, we draw on our broad learning experiences from four community case studies conducted as part of the AC-NV project: Arviat, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, and Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Close partnerships were formed in each of these communities, and 32 youth were trained in participatory mapping and workshop facilitation. For our diverse team of Inuit, northern- (i.e., non-Inuit, living in Inuit Nunangat), and southern-based non-Inuit researchers, our efforts to engage in partnered research were a critical component of the research and learning experience. In this article we share methodological reflections and lessons learned from what collaborative-partnered research means in practice. In so doing, we aim to contribute to the increasing dialogue and efforts around knowledge co-production and Inuit self-determination in research. Key conclusions of this reflective exercise include the importance of 1) conducting research that is relevant to local needs and interests, 2) visiting researchers and local organizations partnering together, 3) co-creating and refining knowledge documentation tools, 4) including youth cultural liaisons as co-facilitators, 5) conducting results validation and sharing exercises, and 6) being open to forming personal friendships. For the AC-NV, this community-based partnership approach resulted in more robust research results, strengthened north-south relations, and enhanced local capacity for community-led projects.
... Inuit have made their travel decisions for thousands of years by observing weather, water, and ice conditions, and making forecasts according to season, hunting goals, and known locations (including connections and patterns between places). Some of the most common indicators used in traditional forecasting methods across Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homelands in Canada) are wind direction and strength, tidal cycle, cloud formations, floe edge location, snowfall (especially in fall, on newly formed thin sea ice), blowing snow, animal behavior, areas with strong currents, direction and speed of moving ice, timing of river or sea ice breakup, visibility, wave height, among others (George et al. 2004;Krupnik et al. 2010;Laidler et al. 2011;Gearheard et al. 2013). Inuit made decisions using their own personal knowledge and experience, as well as discussing observations with others. ...
Article
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As Inuit hunters living in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, we (Natasha Simonee and Jayko Alooloo) travel extensively on land, water, and sea ice. Climate change, including changing sea ice and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, has made it riskier and harder for us to travel and hunt safely. Inuit knowledge supporting safe travel is also changing and shared less between generations. We increasingly use online weather, marine, and ice products to develop locally relevant forecasts. This helps us to make decisions according to wind, waves, precipitation, visibility, sea ice conditions, and floe edge location. We apply our forecasts and share them with fellow community members to support safe travel. In this paper, we share the approach we developed from over a decade of systematically and critically assessing forecasting products such as: Windy.com; weather and marine forecasts; tide tables; C-CORE’s floe edge monitoring service; SmartICE; ZoomEarth; and time lapse cameras. We describe the strengths and challenges we face when accessing, interpreting, and applying each product throughout different seasons. Our analysis highlights a disconnect between available products and local needs. This disconnect can be overcome by service providers adjusting services to include: more seasonal and real-time information, non-technical language, familiar units of measurement, data size proportional to internet access cost and speed, and clear relationships between weather/marine/ice information and safe travel. Our findings have potential relevance in the Circumpolar Arctic and beyond, wherever people combine Indigenous weather forecasting methods and online information for decision-making. We encourage service providers to improve product relevance and accessibility.
... All informants shared the observation that the sea ice generally has become thinner (Table 2), and these types of observations often echo similar testimonies elsewhere among Inuit in the Arctic (Berkes, 2000;Krupnik et al., 2010). Three elder fishers recalled having to dig out holes in the sea ice, as far down as a person could stand, during the 1970s and 1980s, and often these local accounts can be compared to similar observations made elsewhere in Disco Bay (see, for example, Kielsen-Holm, 2010;Tejsner, 2019). ...
Article
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The interview survey conducted in Ilulissat, Ilimanaq, and Qasigiannguit in Greenland during March–April 2019 showed that the local fishers are changing fishing strategies and adapting to a changing environment caused by climate change. The main fjord of Ilulissat Icefjord is usually filled with icebergs year-round, making it impossible to navigate. Currently, there are more ice clearing events in Ilulissat Icefjord during the winter than previously. The traditional pattern of going fishing using dogsled is changing and fishing from boats occurs, whenever the main fjord clears of ice. The poorer sea ice conditions in the southern branch of the fjord system, combined with the fact that it is increasingly challenging to reach fishing sites, have resulted in fishers from Qasigiannguit not going to the Icefjord as much as they used to. Ilulissat Icefjord is by any means considered important fishing and hunting ground by locals, as both Greenland halibut and ringed seals are known to be of larger size inside the fjord system, when compared to those caught in Disco Bay. The locals use Ilulissat Icefjord during a limited period of the year, and the fjord is therefore said to be protected from overexploitation. They observe the immediate effects of climate change from changes in the ice conditions, a change in the fjord's accessibility, and the occurrence of Atlantic cod, which were not present in the fjord system in such numbers before.
... Polar Geography 37, 69-91; Mustonen and Mustonen 2011. Eastern Sami Atlas (Vaasa: SnowChange) Krupnik and Jolly, 2002;Fox, 2003;Henshaw, 2003;Oozeva and Krupnik, 2004;Cruikshank, 2005;Huntington, 2005;Gearheard et al., 2006;Bravo, 2010;Krupnik et al., eds., 2010;Riseth and Solbakken, 2010;Andersen og Persen, 2011;Porsanger and Guttorm, 2011;Riseth et al., 2011;Eythórsson and Brattland 2012;Brattland and Eythórsson, 2013). ...
Technical Report
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The study aimed to: 1. Identify community-based monitoring and observing programmes in the European Arctic and collect basic data through a questionnaire form developed by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, to feed into the Atlas of Community Based Monitoring in a Changing Arctic. 2. Provide a detailed overview of the LTK emerged from the programmes identified 3. Provide policy recommendations as to how LTK could cross-fertilize with Western science and assist in EU policymaking and research.
... Inuit, for instance, have a capacity to finely discriminate between many different types of snow and to respond accordingly. Their intimate understanding derives simply from constant and prolonged close-quarter encounters with a wide range of different snow conditions (Krupnik, Aporta, Gearheard, Laidler, & Holm, 2010). Being able to sense, discriminate and respond appropriately to different snow conditions is not simply a matter of choice for the Inuit; it is a matter of life and death. ...
... Winds that were historically stable for long periods of time are now unreliable and are part of a larger set of features of climate change, such as melting sea ice, melting glaciers, and rising temperatures (Muilwijk et al. 2019). For changes observed by Inuit in Greenland, see Kielsen Holm (2010), and in Nunavut, Canada, see Laidler et al. (2010). For a broader discussion of indigenous perspectives, see Huntington et al. (2005), and for resilience, see Carson and Peterson (2016). ...
Article
In this article we demonstrate the fundamental relationship between the linguistic encoding of spatial relations and the topography of Greenland as an island, more specifically as a large island with considerable inland ice, and social engagement with that space. Kalaallisut (or Greenlandic, ISO 639-3 kal) uses an absolute frame of reference and a cardinal direction system that arises from an environmentally anchored coastal orientation system. Sociocultural knowledge and experiences play an important role in this system. It is deeply rooted in the geophysical environment, and changes to that environment can and do affect the linguistic encoding of space. Crucially, changes in people’s relationship with the environment affect how it is conceptualized in language. This is part of a broader pattern of Inuit language usage in changing Arctic environments and societies.
... Increasing climate change and variation is also creating new challenges for the health of northern populations [6,[9][10][11][12]. For example, rising temperatures have disrupted ice formation and breakup patterns, leading to unsafe and unpredictable travel conditions and, in turn, have increased rates of injuries and death [13][14][15][16][17]. Fluctuations in ice safety and weather patterns can disrupt the ability to hunt, leading to decreased food security and nutritional deficits [18][19][20][21][22]. Extreme weather events and changes in precipitation patterns can increase run-off and contaminate local water supplies, increasing the risk of waterborne disease and acute gastrointestinal illness [19,23]. ...
Article
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Environments are shifting rapidly in the Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions as a result of climate change and other external stressors, and this has a substantial impact on the health of northern populations. Thus, there is a need for integrated surveillance systems designed to monitor the impacts of climate change on human health outcomes as part of broader adaptation strategies in these regions. This review aimed to identify, describe, and synthesize literature on integrated surveillance systems in Circumpolar Arctic and Subarctic regions, that are used for research or practice. Following a systematic realist review approach, relevant articles were identified using search strings developed for MEDLINE® and Web of Science™ databases, and screened by two independent reviewers. Articles that met the inclusion criteria were retained for descriptive quantitative analysis, as well as thematic qualitative analysis, using a realist lens. Of the 3431 articles retrieved in the database searches, 85 met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Thematic analysis identified components of integrated surveillance systems that were categorized into three main groups: structural, processual, and relational components. These components were linked to surveillance attributes and activities that supported the operations and management of integrated surveillance. This review advances understandings of the distinct contributions of integrated surveillance systems and data to discerning the nature of changes in climate and environmental conditions that affect population health outcomes and determinants in the Circumpolar North. Findings from this review can be used to inform the planning, design, and evaluation of integrated surveillance systems that support evidence-based public health research and practice in the context of increasing climate change and the need for adaptation.
... Indigenous knowledge of sea ice reveals it to be an essential substance that morphs, moves, and seasonally recurs and subsides. For Inuit, ice requires nuanced interpretation to understand and survive (Krupnik et al. 2010). Indigenous knowledge shows sea ice to be fundamentally different from land in a way that confounds any simplistic relationship that Western legal instruments, like UNCLOS, posit between land and water (see Aporta 2009;Aporta, Kane, and Chircop 2018;and the Ice Law Project). ...
... Indigenous knowledge of sea ice reveals it to be an essential substance that morphs, moves, and seasonally recurs and subsides. For Inuit, ice requires nuanced interpretation to understand and survive (Krupnik et al. 2010). Indigenous knowledge shows sea ice to be fundamentally different from land in a way that confounds any simplistic relationship that Western legal instruments, like UNCLOS, posit between land and water (see Aporta 2009;Aporta, Kane, and Chircop 2018;and the Ice Law Project). ...
Chapter
From drought to deluge, climate extremes are mobilizing humanities scholars to reimagine water discourse, which has until now largely focused on human power over water. This volume unites preeminent and emerging voices across humanistic disciplines to develop a new discourse called the hydrohumanities, dedicated to examining water-human-power relationships. Organized into three themes in water studies—agency, fluid identities, and cultural currencies—Hydrohumanities exemplifies how interdisciplinary approaches can transform water conversations. Part One explores the properties of water and the ways water challenges human plans for control. Part Two explores how water (or its absence) shapes human collective and individual identities. Part Three engages notions of value and circulation to think about how water has been employed for local, national, and international gains. This volume shows how humanities scholarship has world-changing potential to achieve more just water futures.
... Inuit, for instance, have a capacity to finely discriminate between many different types of snow and to respond accordingly. Their intimate understanding derives simply from constant and prolonged close-quarter encounters with a wide range of different snow conditions (Krupnik, Aporta, Gearheard, Laidler, & Holm, 2010). Being able to sense, discriminate and respond appropriately to different snow conditions is not simply a matter of choice for the Inuit; it is a matter of life and death. ...
Article
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The dynamic capabilities framework has been used to explain how firms successfully adapt to changing environments. However, tensions exist in the literature surrounding the idiosyncratic, tacit and hence inimitable nature of dynamic capabilities. The literature struggles to explain in cognitivist terms how such firm capabilities are acquired in the first instance. In this paper, we argue that a firm’s dynamic capabilities rest upon a tacitly-shared substrate of sensitivities and predispositions that precede cognitive representation. These sensitivities and predispositions are typically transmitted and shared unconsciously through social practices rather than through formal instruction. They provide the microfoundational substrate of capabilities that enable a firm to effectively respond by orienting its members towards external environmental challenges in a manner unique to the firm’s history. Such sensitivities and predispositions provide an organizational modus operandi for members to reconfigure capabilities and resources and to capitalize on the opportunities arising therefrom.
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The central proposal of this article is that environing technologies shape and structure the way in which nature becomes environment, and as such used, perceived and understood. The argument builds on the understanding that environment is the result of human intervention. Technology is here understood broadly as a terraforming practise, materially and conceptually. We suggest that the compound environing technologies enable us to see environmental change on multiple scales and in new registers. That technologies alter the physical world is not new; our contribution focuses on the conceptual, epistemological, economic and emotional appreciation of systems and aggregates of technologies that is part and parcel of material change. The environing technologies that enable such articulation and comprehension hold potential in the future transformation that our societies need to undergo to overcome the crisis of environment and climate.
Chapter
The Language of Hunter-Gatherers - edited by Tom Güldemann February 2020
Article
Environmental conditions in Polar Regions are becoming more dynamic due to climate change. As sea ice melts, the range of human activities in Polar Regions are projected to increase, while weather conditions are becoming more extreme and unpredictable. Provision and use of weather, water, ice and climate (WWIC) information plays a key role in ensuring that polar activities are conducted as safely as possible and can contribute to a reduction of the environmental footprint of human activities. In this article, we explore the WWIC information provider landscape in a polar context, drawing on a database we compiled to characterize the diversity of providers. The database is built on available literature and on an extensive desk-based research of WWIC information provider websites. We analyse the 374 providers categorized by (a) institutional background (public vs private), (b) the position of the provider relative to activities in the WWIC information space, and (c) the users they serve. While governmental institutions have a strong presence in information provision, new types of providers are now entering the scene. Scientific actors seem to play a substantial role as users as well as major providers of WWIC information services.
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While Arctic sea ice is changing, new observation methods are developed and process understanding improves, whereas gaps in observations and understanding evolve. Some previous gaps are filled, while others remain, or come up new. Knowing about the status of observation and knowledge gaps is important for interpreting observation and research results, interpretation and use of key climate indicators, and for research and observation planning. This paper deals with identifying some of the important current gaps connected to Arctic sea ice and related climate indicators, including their role and functions in the sea ice and climate systems. Subtopics that are discussed here include Arctic sea-ice extent, concentration, and thickness, sea-ice thermodynamics, age and dynamic processes, and biological implications of changing sea ice. Among crucial gaps are few in situ observations during the winter season, limited observational data on snow and ice thickness from the Arctic Basin, and wide gaps in biological rate measurements in or under sea ice. There is a need to develop or improve analyzes and products of remote sensing, especially for new sensors and technology such as remotely operated vehicles. Potential gaps in observations are inevitably associated with interruptions in long-term observational time series due to sensor failure or cuts in observation programmes.
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Arctic landfast sea ice has undergone substantial changes in recent decades, affecting ice stability and including potential impacts on ice travel by coastal populations and on industry ice roads. We present a novel approach for evaluating landfast sea ice stability on a pan-Arctic scale using Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR). Using Sentinel-1 images from spring 2017, we discriminate between bottomfast, stabilized, and nonstabilized landfast ice over the main marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean (Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, and Kara seas). This approach draws on the evaluation of relative changes in interferometric fringe patterns. This first comprehensive assessment of Arctic bottomfast sea ice extent has revealed that most of the bottomfast sea ice is situated around river mouths and coastal shallows. The Laptev and East Siberian seas dominate the aerial extent, covering roughly 4100 and 5100 km², respectively. These seas also contain the largest extent of stabilized and nonstabilized landfast ice, but are subject to the largest uncertainties surrounding the mapping scheme. Even so, we demonstrate the potential for using InSAR for assessing the stability of landfast ice in several key regions around the Arctic, providing a new understanding of how stability may vary between regions. InSAR-derived stability may serve for strategic planning and tactical decision support for different uses of coastal ice. In a case study of the Nares Strait, we demonstrate that interferograms may reveal early-warning signals for the breakup of stationary sea ice.
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Climate change is a major challenge to Arctic and other Indigenous peoples, but not the only and often not the most pressing one. We propose re-framing the treatment of climate change in policy and research, to make sure health, poverty, education, cultural vitality, equity, justice, and other topics highlighted by the people themselves and not just climate science also get the attention they deserve in research on global and regional environmental change. Climate change can often exacerbate other problems, but a singular focus on climate change—as is often the case in much existing environmental literature on the Arctic and elsewhere—can distract from actions that can be taken now to improve the lives of Arctic peoples. The same logic also applies elsewhere in the world, where diverse residents face a host of challenges, opportunities, and obstacles, with climate change but one among many issues. Our proposed approach to regional and global environmental change research draws on the ideas of decolonization, emphasizing collaborative approaches and Indigenous voices in research and policy instead of top-down measures designed outside the affected communities. Only in this way of contextualizing human-environmental experiences can the full effects of climate change be understood—and appropriate responses developed and carried out to adapt to global change.
Article
The Arctic climate is changing rapidly, but quantifying outcomes for Inuit has been elusive. Now, research starts with trail-use instead of models, and finds that the effects from climate change are modest compared with the role of skill and risk-tolerance of the travellers.
Article
This article builds upon previous assertions that the ocean provides a fertile environment for reconceptualising understandings of space, time, movement and experiences of being in a transformative and mobile world. Following previous articles that urged scholars to adopt a ‘wet ontology’, this article presents a progression of, and a caveat to, these earlier arguments. As we have argued previously, liquid ‘materiality, motion, and temporality…allows for new ways of thinking that are not possible when only thinking with the land’. This article maintains that critical perspectives can be gained by taking the ocean’s liquidity to heart. However, it also questions the premise of this vision. For the ocean is not simply liquid. It is solid (ice) and air (mist). It generates winds, which transport smells, and these may emote the oceanic miles inland. Although earlier attention to the ocean’s liquid volume was a necessary antidote to surficial static ontologies typically associated with land, this is insufficient in light of how the ocean exceeds material liquidity. This article thus explores what might emerge if, instead, one were to approach the ocean as offering a more-than-wet ontology, wherein its fluid nature is continually produced and dissipated.
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The drift of sea ice is an important geophysical process with widespread implications for the ocean energy budget and ecosystems. Drifting sea ice can also threaten marine operations and present a hazard for ocean vessels and installations. Here, we evaluate single-pass along-track synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry (S-ATI) as a tool to assess ice drift while discussing possible applications and inherent limitations. Initial validation shows that TanDEM-X phase-derived drift speed corresponds well with drift products from a ground-based radar at Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Joint analysis of TanDEM-X and Sentinel-1 data covering the Fram Strait demonstrates that S-ATI can help quantify the opening/closing rate of leads with possible applications for navigation. S-ATI enables an instantaneous assessment of ice drift and dynamic processes that are otherwise difficult to observe. For instance, by evaluating sea ice drift through the Vilkitsky Strait, Russia, we identified short-lived transient convergence patterns. We conclude that S-ATI enables the identification and analysis of potentially important dynamic processes (e.g., drift, rafting, and ridging). However, current limitations of S-ATI are significant (e.g., data availability and they presently only provide the cross-track vector component of the ice drift field) but may be significantly reduced with future SAR systems.
Article
This ethnographic study at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) follows a group of scientists and communications specialists as they compose visualizations and analyses of near-real-time Arctic sea ice data. Research participants collectively make scientific judgments about near-real-time data in a highly visible public venue with ‘relational agility’. They balance multiple phenomena including knowledge of how sceptics attack climate science, reflexivity about the conventions through which sea ice data is gathered, the needs of journalists working in a news cycle paced by Twitter, and the liveliness and vitality of sea ice itself. Relational agility, understood as a way of coordinating the social in relation to this plurality of contingent practices and processes, provides insight into the science and politics of nonlinear climate change.
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This article examines a cartographic encounter that took place in 1850 between Kallihirua, a member of Inughuit community of Northern Greenland, and members of the British Admiralty. Drawing on recent literatures that critically assess histories of indigenous mapping, the article explores the troubling circumstances that surrounded this encounter and analyses two maps which were produced as a result. Informed by ongoing debates pertaining to the decolonization of geographical knowledge, the article also reflects critically upon the extent to which historical indigenous cosmologies were commensurate with non-indigenous cartographic traditions and thus reassesses the motivations that lay behind the production and circulation of these maps. The article thus concludes by arguing that while Kallihirua certainly did contribute various types of geographical knowledge during this encounter, to label him as the sole author of these maps would be a problematic act of “cartographic ventriloquism.”
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Using a literature review, this paper defines the knowledge status of smoked reindeer meat and investigates to what degree reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge has been included in scientific articles and grey literature. We developed a four-level categorisation of the degree of including traditional knowledge, from “non-participation” to “self-determination,” and three levels of focus. Very few scientific articles on smoked or smoking reindeer meat appeared in the review. Not only did reindeer peoples’ traditional meat smoking knowledge “went up in smoke”—both literally and metaphorically—but also incorrect conclusions were often drawn as a result of that exclusion. We argue that reindeer herders’ traditional knowledges and practices of smoking reindeer meat need examination and inclusion through co-production or self-determination methods across scientific disciplines.
Thesis
Storied Icebergs seeks to understand how, in the context of story(telling), Qallunaat knowledge production about the Canadian North might be decolonised. Inspired by Tiffany Lethabo King’s The Black Shoals (2019), this dissertation uses the iceberg as a critical terrain upon which to both interrogate the coloniality of Qallunaat knowledge production and comprehend the decolonial possibilities of story(telling). Inuit hi/stories are positioned as storied icebergs that are capable of slowing, disrupting, and transcending the hegemonic order of knowledge production. Storied Icebergs is divided into two sections. The first section addresses the disruptive potential of the storied icebergs hermeneutic. As impediments to plain sailing, storied icebergs can slow and interrupt the normative movement of the vessel of colonial knowledge production about the Canadian North. This argument is substantiated through a pointed focus on the ways in which Inuit hi/stories of Sir John Franklin’s fatal disaster have repeatedly ruptured the dominant narrative of his demise. Storied icebergs can throw Qallunaat thinking overboard; they can force Qallunaat to contend with epistemologies that exceed (settler) colonialism. In this sense, storied icebergs index possibilities for radical transformation. The second section builds on this to argue that storied icebergs do more than disrupt, they are themselves floating formations of decolonial knowledge production Canadian North. Through a poetics of storied icebergs, this section shows how storied expressions of Inuit reclamation and resurgence can reorient Qallunaat knowledge systems towards modes of thought beyond coloniality. Fundamentally, Storied Icebergs seeks to contribute to restor(y)ing epistemic relations between Qallunaat, Inuit, and the Canadian North in pursuit of a decolonial future.
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Confronted with the complex environmental crises of the Anthropocene, scientists have moved towards an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges that are both social and ecological. Several arenas are now calling for co-production of new transdisciplinary knowledge by combining Indigenous knowledge and science. This book revisits epistemological debates on the notion of co-production and assesses the relevant methods, principles and values that enable communities to co-produce. It explores the factors that determine how indigenous-scientific knowledge can be rooted in equity, mutual respect and shared benefits. Resilience through Knowledge Co-Production includes several collective papers co-authored by Indigenous experts and scientists, with case studies involving Indigenous communities from the Arctic, Pacific islands, the Amazon, the Sahel and high altitude areas. Offering guidance to indigenous peoples, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, this book moves towards a decolonised co-production of knowledge that unites indigenous knowledge and science to address global environmental crises.
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In September 2007, Arctic sea ice plummeted to a shocking record minimum at the time. The amount of ice lost that summer was equal to that lost over the previous 25 years. As Arctic sea ice escapes scientists’ predictions, scholars in the social sciences and humanities have critically interrogated “nature”/“culture” divides that treat the time of nature as unchanging and distinct from human beings. This essay examines what concept of time emerges through Arctic sea ice as an analytic lens. By this, I mean scientific knowledge of sea ice and the conceptual possibilities for thinking ice temporalities and environmental time-reckoning that it opens up. Attending to these possibilities suggests different kinds of “clocks” to help reckon the time of environmental changes in the form of (1) climate anomalies (e.g., deviations in ice thickness), which offer a different way of telling environmental time that attends to the physical specificity of substances; and (2) the Arctic Oscillation, a semi-periodic world weather pattern that emerges from the thick of relationships among ice, atmosphere, ocean, and now humans, generating a collective planetary time. Finally, I argue that the relational human–nonhuman production of planetary time shifts the focus in social studies of time from collective time-reckoning, which assumes entities have a socioculturally determined concept of time, toward temporal coordination as a less anthropocentric mode of ordering shared realities. Coordination decenters “the Human” as an epistemic ordering principle and enlarges ordering to include a diversity of nonhuman ways of being. Through temporal coordination, environmental prediction would be the ordering of a collective reality that a multiplicity of human and nonhuman ways of being make together rather than the search for a more precise clock, or development of better technoscientific means to capture nonhuman temporalities external to human beings.
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Confronted with the complex environmental crises of the Anthropocene, scientists have moved towards an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges that are both social and ecological. Several arenas are now calling for co-production of new transdisciplinary knowledge by combining Indigenous knowledge and science. This book revisits epistemological debates on the notion of co-production and assesses the relevant methods, principles and values that enable communities to co-produce. It explores the factors that determine how indigenous-scientific knowledge can be rooted in equity, mutual respect and shared benefits. Resilience through Knowledge Co-Production includes several collective papers co-authored by Indigenous experts and scientists, with case studies involving Indigenous communities from the Arctic, Pacific islands, the Amazon, the Sahel and high altitude areas. Offering guidance to indigenous peoples, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, this book moves towards a decolonised co-production of knowledge that unites indigenous knowledge and science to address global environmental crises.
Chapter
Confronted with the complex environmental crises of the Anthropocene, scientists have moved towards an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges that are both social and ecological. Several arenas are now calling for co-production of new transdisciplinary knowledge by combining Indigenous knowledge and science. This book revisits epistemological debates on the notion of co-production and assesses the relevant methods, principles and values that enable communities to co-produce. It explores the factors that determine how indigenous-scientific knowledge can be rooted in equity, mutual respect and shared benefits. Resilience through Knowledge Co-Production includes several collective papers co-authored by Indigenous experts and scientists, with case studies involving Indigenous communities from the Arctic, Pacific islands, the Amazon, the Sahel and high altitude areas. Offering guidance to indigenous peoples, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, this book moves towards a decolonised co-production of knowledge that unites indigenous knowledge and science to address global environmental crises.
Chapter
Confronted with the complex environmental crises of the Anthropocene, scientists have moved towards an interdisciplinary approach to address challenges that are both social and ecological. Several arenas are now calling for co-production of new transdisciplinary knowledge by combining Indigenous knowledge and science. This book revisits epistemological debates on the notion of co-production and assesses the relevant methods, principles and values that enable communities to co-produce. It explores the factors that determine how indigenous-scientific knowledge can be rooted in equity, mutual respect and shared benefits. Resilience through Knowledge Co-Production includes several collective papers co-authored by Indigenous experts and scientists, with case studies involving Indigenous communities from the Arctic, Pacific islands, the Amazon, the Sahel and high altitude areas. Offering guidance to indigenous peoples, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, this book moves towards a decolonised co-production of knowledge that unites indigenous knowledge and science to address global environmental crises.
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Free-drift estimates of sea ice motion are necessary to produce a seamless observational record combining buoy and satellite-derived sea ice motion vectors. We develop a new parameterization for the free drift of sea ice based on wind forcing, wind turning angle, sea ice state variables (thickness and concentration), and estimates of the ocean currents. Given the fact that the spatial distribution of the wind–ice–ocean transfer coefficient has a similar structure to that of the spatial distribution of sea ice thickness, we take the standard free-drift equation and introduce a wind–ice–ocean transfer coefficient that scales linearly with ice thickness. Results show a mean bias error of −0.5 cm s−1 (low-speed bias) and a root-mean-square error of 5.1 cm s−1, considering daily buoy drift data as truth. This represents a 35 % reduction of the error on drift speed compared to the free-drift estimates used in the Polar Pathfinder dataset (Tschudi et al., 2019b). The thickness-dependent transfer coefficient provides an improved seasonality and long-term trend of the sea ice drift speed, with a minimum (maximum) drift speed in May (October), compared to July (January) for the constant transfer coefficient parameterizations which simply follow the peak in mean surface wind stresses. Over the 1979–2019 period, the trend in sea ice drift in this new model is +0.45 cm s−1 per decade compared with +0.39 cm s−1 per decade from the buoy observations, whereas there is essentially no trend in a free-drift parameterization with a constant transfer coefficient (−0.09 cm s−1 per decade) or the Polar Pathfinder free-drift input data (−0.01 cm s−1 per decade). The optimal wind turning angle obtained from a least-squares fitting is 25∘, resulting in a mean error and a root-mean-square error of +3 and 42∘ on the direction of the drift, respectively. The ocean current estimates obtained from the minimization procedure resolve key large-scale features such as the Beaufort Gyre and Transpolar Drift Stream and are in good agreement with ocean state estimates from the ECCO, GLORYS, and PIOMAS ice–ocean reanalyses, as well as geostrophic currents from dynamical ocean topography, with a root-mean-square difference of 2.4, 2.9, 2.6, and 3.8 cm s−1, respectively. Finally, a repeat of the analysis on two sub-sections of the time series (pre- and post-2000) clearly shows the acceleration of the Beaufort Gyre (particularly along the Alaskan coastline) and an expansion of the gyre in the post-2000s, concurrent with a thinning of the sea ice cover and the observed acceleration of the ice drift speed and ocean currents. This new dataset is publicly available for complementing merged observation-based sea ice drift datasets that include satellite and buoy drift records.
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A major implication of climate change is the declining capacity for communities to anticipate future conditions and scenarios. In the Bering Sea region of Western Alaska, this situation is acute and holds manifold consequences, particularly for the region’s primarily Indigenous residents. Based upon interviews and fieldwork in two Bering Sea communities and among regional weather forecasters, this paper explores the intertwined temporalities of weather, climate, and social life. I demonstrate that anticipatory culture , which otherwise structures anticipatory practices regarding climate, local weather, and social life, is beset by temporal dissonance across three timescales. First, dramatic climatic and ecosystem shifts reshape how Indigenous Peoples envision themselves as culturally inhabiting a long-range history and future. Second, changes in weather patterns, ecological cycles, and sea ice dynamics upset evaluations of seasonality, leading to a pervasive sense of unpredictability. Third, on the everyday timescale, social and technological change complicates mariners’ evaluations of risk and economic (commercial and subsistence) decision-making. I conclude by connecting these three socio-environmental temporalities to the temporal frames that primarily characterize weather and climate services, with an emphasis on the US National Weather Service. The paper discusses how such services may further orient toward engaging socially embedded practices of anticipation in addition to formal prediction. Such an orientation can help to shape an anticipatory culture that more closely aligns meteorological and social patterns.
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This article describes the observation techniques and suggests processing methods to estimate dynamical sea-ice parameters from data of the Earth Explorer 10 candidate Harmony. The two Harmony satellites will fly in a reconfigurable formation with Sentinel-1D. Both will be equipped with a multi-angle thermal infrared sensor and a passive radar receiver, which receives the reflected Sentinel-1D signals using two antennas. During the lifetime of the mission, two different formations will be flown. In the stereo formation, the Harmony satellites will fly approximately 300 km in front and behind Sentinel-1, which allows for the estimation of instantaneous sea-ice drift vectors. We demonstrate that the addition of instantaneous sea-ice drift estimates on top of the daily integrated values from feature tracking have benefits in terms of interpretation, sampling and resolution. The wide-swath instantaneous drift observations of Harmony also help to put high-temporal-resolution instantaneous buoy observations into a spatial context. Additionally, it allows for the extraction of deformation parameters, such as shear and divergence. As a result, Harmony's data will help to improve sea-ice statistics and parametrizations to constrain sea-ice models. In the cross-track interferometry (XTI) mode, Harmony's satellites will fly in close formation with an XTI baseline to be able to estimate surface elevations. This will allow for improved estimates of sea-ice volume and also enables the retrieval of full, two-dimensional swell-wave spectra in sea-ice-covered regions without any gaps. In stereo formation, the line-of-sight diversity allows the inference of swell properties in both directions using traditional velocity bunching approaches. In XTI mode, Harmony's phase differences are only sensitive to the ground-range direction swell. To fully recover two-dimensional swell-wave spectra, a synergy between XTI height spectra and intensity spectra is required. If selected, the Harmony mission will be launched in 2028.
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This chapter draws upon ongoing work on the past sea-ice record for Iceland, as well as research on sea-ice records for the Labrador Sea and considerations of current issues of sea-ice impacts in Labrador/Nunatsiavut. It presents sea-ice variations from ca. 1815 to the present and the role of sea ice as experienced by two Arctic/Subarctic populations, that of the island of Iceland and coastal Labrador/Nunatsiavut, both geographically situated in the northern North Atlantic Ocean. Dramatic changes are occurring in the Arctic and Subarctic. Iceland is situated at the seasonal boundary of the Arctic sea ice, which is important feature of the climate. The impact of sea-ice variability on human life can be traced back to the role of the North Atlantic Oscillation and potentially a forcing mechanism in the high Arctic climate system. Iceland is well known for its rich literary tradition, which includes a wealth of historical records containing accounts of climate and weather.
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In impact assessment (IA) the value of different forms of knowledge is increasingly acknowledged, but implementation and practice challenges continue. In Nunavut, a territory in the Canadian Arctic, Indigenous knowledge plays a key role in understanding and defining environmental baselines and guiding the assessment process; however, even here there are needs and opportunities for improved treatment and use of Indigenous knowledge in assessment and decision-making. This paper outlines the central role of Inuit Qaujimaningit/Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) (Inuit knowledge) in shaping and defining Nunavut’s impact assessment process. The work highlights the potential of the Nunavut process to provide a model for the use of Indigenous knowledge in IA, and of co-management or Indigenous-led impact assessment. Focus groups were held with board members and staff of the Nunavut Impact Review Board – the co-management board responsible for impact assessment in the territory. The results highlight the unique qualities of the impact assessment process in Nunavut and demonstrate how IQ is a crucial component of project review, notably its role in decision-making and for ensuring that the process is meaningful to communities. The results and recommendations have value to a range of other jurisdictions that are also working towards using Indigenous knowledge in environmental decision-making or even seeking to advance Indigenous-led impact assessment.
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This paper outlines a new model of language revitalisation that understands language to be a characteristic of a nexus of social activities rather than an independent object. Language use is one of an overall set of factors contributing to the wellbeing of a particular community. Our model treats language as one node (or a cluster of nodes) in a complex system of interacting behaviours. Changes to another node or in the language node(s) itself can impact overall social wellbeing, something often ignored by linguists (but not by other social scientists working in Indigenous communities). Disruption to an existing network occurs within a time frame; the longer the disruption, the more likely that the network redefines the group. Variables that define the language ecology operate on multiple levels. For the group and for individuals within the group, there can be considerable variation in usage and proficiency over time. Sustainability cannot be reduced to simple cause-and-effect relationships between sociocultural variables. The next phase of language revitalisation projects should be built around the concept of language activity as part of promoting community wellbeing. The use of complex networks that have been applied to human wellbeing in other contexts support our argument.
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