Subsistence

For indigenous peoples in the Arctic, the means for living comes from the land. These climate change issues and responses are connected to human use of wild resources.

Climate Change Issues

Response

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As the environment changes, the migration routes of animals are changing. Change hunting routes and hunt alternative species moving into the region.
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Parry, M.L., O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., 2007: Cross-chapter case study. In: Climate
Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 843-868.
Researchers are concerned about the resilience and vulnerability of Caribou. Researchers document caribou migration patterns.
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Circum-Arctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network (CARMA)
Early melting of sea ice in the spring has made it more difficult to hunt spring walrus in Alaska. Indigenous communities have begun shifting from walrus-skin boats to fabric boats.
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Ministry of the Environment of Finland, Department of Environmental Protection. Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Knowledge Related to Biological Diversity and Responses to Climate Change in the Arctic Region.
The possible effects of more shipping traffic in new routes in a partially ice-free Arctic Ocean, spacificaly, the introduction of new species could have negative effects on nesting Aleutian Canadian Geese. The National Wildlife Refuge created monitoring partnerships to detect the appearance of invasive species and of contaminants.
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Julius, S. and West, I. (2008) adaptation Options for Climate Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, Annex A,
Drying lakes and changing snow conditions limit the access to subsistence resources and the availability of waterfowl for subsistence. Drying lakes and changing snow conditions limit the access to subsistence resources, and the availability of waterfowl for subsistence.
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Julius, S. and West, I. (2008) adaptation Options for Climate Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, Annex A,
Warmer temperatures are making it more difficult to store traditional foods in the summer for the people in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of Northwestern Canada. Community members are traveling back to communities more often in summer in order to store traditional foods, using more fuel and time. Less hunting for future use because of limited storage. website
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Nickels, S. et al. Putting the Human Face on Climate Change Through Community Workshops: Inuit Knowledge, Partnerships, and Research. In Krupnik and Jolly, The Earth is Faster Now: Indigenous Observations of Arctic Environmental Change. p. 323
Warmer temperatures are making traditional ways of smoking fish more difficult for the people in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of Northwestern Canada. People are building thicker roofs on smoke houses and using tarps and other materials to protect fish from heat. website
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Nickels, S. et al. Putting the Human Face on Climate Change Through Community Workshops: Inuit Knowledge, Partnerships, and Research. In Krupnik and Jolly, The Earth is Faster Now: Indigenous Observations of Arctic Environmental Change. p. 323
In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, warmer winters do not allow fur-bearers to grow their normally thick winter coats. This results in a lower quality fur that is shorter and not as thick. Less trapping and less use of local furs website
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Nickels, S. et al. Putting the Human Face on Climate Change Through Community Workshops: Inuit Knowledge, Partnerships, and Research. In Krupnik and Jolly, The Earth is Faster Now: Indigenous Observations of Arctic Environmental Change. p. 323
Residents in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region are concerned about warmer water at the surface kills fish in nets. Nets are checked more often to prevent spoilage. website
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Nickels, S. et al. Putting the Human Face on Climate Change Through Community Workshops: Inuit Knowledge, Partnerships, and Research. In Krupnik and Jolly, The Earth is Faster Now: Indigenous Observations of Arctic Environmental Change. p. 323
Changing animal migration routes are making hunting more expensive for the people of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Northwestern Canada. Support Elders who can no longer afford to hunt. website
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Nickels, S. et al. Putting the Human Face on Climate Change Through Community Workshops: Inuit Knowledge, Partnerships, and Research. In Krupnik and Jolly, The Earth is Faster Now: Indigenous Observations of Arctic Environmental Change. p. 323
Many lakes are no longer flooding and limiting subsistence sites near Huslia, AK. People in Huslia look for new subsistence sites suggested by Elders.
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Huntington, O. Traditional/local Knowledge and Community Sustainability at Huslia on the Koyukuk. Alaska Native Science Commission.
People in Huslia, AK are concerned about climate change affecting subsistence resources. Village residents work closely with land managers to communicate cultural needs and that hunting and fishing regulations are appropriate.
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Huntington, O. Traditional/local Knowledge and Community Sustainability at Huslia on the Koyukuk. Alaska Native Science Commission.
Warmer temperatures are changing seasonal patterns for the people in Huslia, AK. Subsistence activities are changed to match the conditions of the environment.
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Huntington, O. Traditional/local Knowledge and Community Sustainability at Huslia on the Koyukuk. Alaska Native Science Commission.
In Point Hope, AK a concern is that warming temperatures will make changes in the the quality of the food gathered. Residents may experience more hunger and disease. A study identifies adaptations to include keeping track of community diet, food storage and food distribution, and to change subsistence patterns.
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Center for climate and Health. (October 2009). Draft Final: Climate change and health impacts Point Hope, Alaska. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
In Point Hope and Barrow, AK, traditional ice cellars are thawing and could lead to a poorer quality of stored subsistence foods. A study identifies adaptations to include keeping track of community diet, food storage and food distribution, and to change subsistence patterns.
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Center for climate and Health. (October 2009). Draft Final: Climate change and health impacts Point Hope, Alaska. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
Shorter seasons and difficult travel conditions were identified as an issue for the people of the lower Yukon River in Alaska. People are seeking more jobs to get more money to buy more food from the store. They are also changing the way they harvest food.
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Carey, E. (2009). Building resilience to climate change in rural Alaska: understanding impacts, adaptation, and the role of TEK. A practicum. University of Michigan.
Changes in the environment are making overland travel more difficult for Athabascan communities on the lower Yukon River in Alaska. Villagers are setting longer trap lines to harvest more animals in one trip and camping out instead of making several day trips.
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Carey, E. (2009). Building resilience to climate change in rural Alaska: understanding impacts, adaptation, and the role of TEK. A practicum. University of Michigan.
In Athabascan communities along the lower Yukon River, residents have noted changes in distribution of moose and chinook (king) salmon. Residents are harvesting other types of salmon and eating more of other harvested foods (e.g., geese and ducks).
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Carey, E. (2009). Building resilience to climate change in rural Alaska: understanding impacts, adaptation, and the role of TEK. A practicum. University of Michigan.
Some residents of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk, Holy Cross, and Beaver, AK anticipate a shortage of moose meat. Residents process more chum salmon by smoking and jarring to make up for the shortage of moose meat.
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Carey, E. (2009). Building resilience to climate change in rural Alaska: understanding impacts, adaptation, and the role of TEK. A practicum. University of Michigan.
Residents of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk, Holy Cross and Beaver, AK, have noted poor travel conditions and changes in animal distribution. Residents have changed harvest locations and continue with traditions of sharing harvests in times of shortage.
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Carey, E. (2009). Building resilience to climate change in rural Alaska: understanding impacts, adaptation, and the role of TEK. A practicum. University of Michigan.
"As climate continues to change, there will be significant impacts on the availability of key subsistence marine and terrestrial species. At a minimum, salmon, herring, walrus, seals, whales, caribou, moose, and various species of waterfowl are likely to undergo shifts in range and abundance." This will entail local adjustments in harvest strategies as well as in allocations of labor and resources (e.g., boats, snowmobiles, weapons). website
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IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001 - Complete online versions. 16.2.8.1. Impacts on Indigenous Peoples
The changing ocean and coastal environment is changing the distribution of fish and other marine life forms. Both subsistence users and commercial fishermen will have to travel farther distances.