Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Year(s) Funded: 2012-2013
Topic Area: Knowledge Sharing / Education
Contact: Doug Joe Esagok, Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee, InuvikHTC@hotmail.com
Partners: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, World Wildlife Federation – Canada
Title: The link between climate change and health in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR): Capacity building, traditional knowledge exchange and community based monitoring for elders and youth at Kendall Island, NWT
Action: For many years, Inuvialuit people and researchers have been making observations of climate change that may be affecting the health of beluga whales and fish at traditional Inuvialuit whaling camps around the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). It is also important to study Kendall Island and other surrounding Islands as they have been occupied for many decades by Inuvialuit families and therefore it is pertinent to understand the history of the area while also examining it scientifically in terms of beluga and fish abundance. These changes may have implications to food security, which will require adaptation strategies to cope and adapt.
The purpose of the project was to address the community concern regarding the health of beluga whales and fish in the area while also looking at how climate change may be impacting them, which directly and indirectly impacts the livelihood of the Inuvialuit people. This project collected Traditional Knowledge through documented video or audio interviews from experienced Inuvialuk beluga whale and fish harvesters to capture some of these observed changes caused by climate change.
Results: Workshops included training in the following areas: GPS and SPOT devices, mapping and making alterative plans for routes, electronic equipment usage (video camera, voice recorders etc), and sampling procedures. In addition, the field camp allowed youth and elders to work together, learning how to set up a traditional camp including, preparing the outhouses, setting up canvas tents (cook house and sleeping quarters), picking a water source and checking for wildlife. In setting up, the team was faced with a real life challenge of climate change when it was observed that Lillian camp, which is situated on the slope of a hill, was very slanted with the ground underneath giving way from the summer melt. So, some youth and a couple of elders showed Inuvialuit adaptation strategies and proceeded to plank and move the camp up so that it was more level and secure for Lillian.
Outputs: Created a 30 minute video of interviews collected throughout the project.