For my Cultural Anthropology class we had to write a ‘response paper’ about something out of the chapter we are currently working on. I decided to write about an Ethnography that was in my book on “Global Warming and the Inuit Foraging Strategy”. They wrote about two Native American tribes that live in the Arctic regions, who are affected by Global Warming.
There are two Native American tribes that live in Alaska called the Inuit and the Gwich’in. The Inuit’s have been living in the Arctic for over six thousand years, while the Gwich’in has been living in the sub-Arctic for over eight thousand years. Both are foraging tribes that utilize the Arctic ice for building and traveling across. Within the last decade they have been hunting and foraging these regions unsuccessfully due to Global Warming.
“Global Warming is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from Earth.”
Global Warming not only affects humans, it affects animals as well. The animals that live in the Arctic are having a difficult time with the major climate change. The ice melts earlier and the lakes and streams take longer to freeze. The ice plays a big part in the Arctic animal’s lives. Walrus and seals use it for shelter and protection from the dangers of the water. The Polar Bears can walk across the solid sheets of ice to find their food. The early melting of the ice poses threats to the Caribou young, and other land based animals as they can fall through the ice and drown. Polar Bears have to travel much further to find food, but rarely find any and starve to death. The numbers of the population of the Arctic animals are rapidly decreasing each decade.
The melting ice, as well as the late freezing lakes and streams, is hard for the two tribes to travel across as the main use of travel is either by dogsled or by snowmobile. The warmer weather also poses a danger to the humans when they are foraging for animal pelts or firewood as a hungry polar bear could be lurking nearby. Both tribes use animal pelts as a form of currency. But with animals young falling through the weakened ice, the tribe’s currency is dwindling.
Global Warming is destroying the Arctic’s ecosystems, as well as the Arctic Native Americans traditions and culture. Without the Arctic animals, the Arctic Native Americans would not have anything to pass down to the next coming generations.
There are several more indigenous peoples than that in Alaska. Also folks up here on the North slope prefer to go by the term Inupiat.’Inuit’ is Canada over.But you are right, global warming is having quite an affect on Alaska Native populations.
Yes, you are correct, there are more tribes in Alaska. I was writing an essay from what I was reading from my textbook. I should’ve re-written it to read ‘all tribes’, rather than those two for my blog post. 🙂 I did not know that term, Inupiat’, thank you for sharing. 🙂