Inuit Adaptations

Inuit Adaptations - For generations Inuit have survived oy...

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the natural world. As the Arctic environment changes, their insights are informing science. BY SHARI GEARHEARD Toktuand-1 sat silently on the wooden sled, listening to the swish of snow under the runners and the panting ofhappy sled dogs. Whiteout conditions and blowing snow made for poor visibility. It was the end of March, and we were trawling across sea ice from the village of Qaanaaq on Greenland's northwestern shore to the most northerly community in the world. Siorapaluk, about thirty-five miles away. We and the other members of our research team had been travel ing mtfcrof the day. the fifteen of us divided among seven dogsleds. The journey was part of a project to study sea-ice changes in three Arctic communities: Qaanaaq in Greenland, Barrow in Alaska, and Clyde River in Canada. Inuit elders and hunters from each commu nity, along with scientists from Canada. Greenland, and the United States, made up the team. The trip to Siorapaluk was a chance to see changing patterns of sea ice that the people from Qaanaaq, the Qaanaarmiut, had been describing to us. The dogs pulled our sled in the tracks of other dog teams well ahead, moving slowly but steadily through freshly fallen snow. I was enjoying the ride and friendly conversation with Toku, a hunter and fisher from Qaanaaq. when I happened to look down at the snow. My heart skipped a beat. Mixed with the fresh imprints of dog paws, I saw dark, water-filled holes. The dogs were falling through the ice, which was only about two inches thick. But. tailing through sea ice in March? Normally the ice is much thicker at that time of year and doesn't begin to break up for at least another two months. Back in Qaanaaq, the Qaanaarmiut had told us that dur- □ Sea ice, median 1979-2000 '■;;.: Sea ice, September 2007 Inuit homelands Chukchi Peninsula Alaska Northwest Terrttiories -ife-'-J-. . "' .'tt-M-a-:;
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Inuit Adaptations - For generations Inuit have survived oy...

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