Conversations: Inuit Food Security, Inuit Sovereignty
June 6, 2021 8:29 AM   Subscribe

No food security without food sovereignty. John, an Inuit hunter from Northern Canada, and Carolina, the Indigenous Knowledge and Science Advisor for the Inuit Circumpolar Council in Alaska, discuss how food security fits into a bigger picture of Inuit self-determination. Then, we hear from Mumilaaq, who’s addressing that bigger picture on an even larger stage: in Canada’s Parliament.

Threshold is a public radio show and podcast that tackles one pressing environmental issue each season. We report the story where it's happening through a range of voices and perspectives. Our goal is to be a home for nuanced journalism about human relationships with the natural world.

Documents described and discussed during the conversations -

Inuit Role in Managing Arctic Marine Resources

For thousands of years, Inuit have been part of the Arctic ecosystem. Inuit have thrived and built their culture rooted in values that shape the relationships they have held with everything within this ecosystem. Those values—including respect, collaboration, and sharing—all aid in supporting healthy and harmonious relationships and communities. A core element of Inuit culture that incorporates these values is hunting, gathering, and preparing foods. Discussions about food security require an understanding of the far-reaching implications of how issues of food security interact with culture, history, management systems, and world views. The interconnections between all peoples, wildlife, and the environment within the Arctic ecosystem directly influences food security, and food sovereignty is distinctly tied to food security.

Without food sovereignty, Inuit cannot achieve food security was a primary finding of ICC Alaska’s 2015 report, How to Assess Food Security from an Inuit Perspective: Building a Conceptual Framework on How to Assess Food Security in the Alaskan Arctic. In Alaska, Inuit recognized the lack of decision-making power and management authority to be the greatest threat to Inuit food security. One of the key recommendations of the 2015 report was to learn what is occurring within other Inuit regions, leading to a comparative analysis of co- management practices across Inuit Nunaat (homeland).
To address this recommendation, the Food Sovereignty and Self- Governance – Inuit Role in Managing Arctic Marine Resources (hereby referred to as FSSG) project was developed through partnerships across Alaska and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) of Canada. The project goal was to examine current management and co-management of Arctic marine food resources in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of existing and emerging frameworks supporting Inuit self-governance. The three key objectives of the project are:
• Synthesize and evaluate existing frameworks for Inuit management and co-management of marine food resources presently reflected in law, policies, and legal authorities in the United States and the ISR of Canada;
• Evaluate how existing Inuit self-governance is operationalized by examining four co-management case studies focused on marine resources that are aimed at ensuring food sovereignty, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the social, political, and institutional parameters affecting implementation of key legal frameworks;
• Assess how Inuit self-governance supports food security by evaluating food sovereignty objectives against the existing legal and structural frameworks and their effective implementation and outcomes.

On: Refinery29

A Report on Nunavut’s Housing Crisis by Mumilaaq Qaqqaq

By: Canadian Geographic

The ICC official website
posted by infinite intimation (2 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
We are going to see many more stories like this as climate change puts pressure on already marginalized people(s).
posted by praemunire at 9:35 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]

Very interesting, thanks for posting!
I think it's so interesting what you're saying about the the how much things have changed in the traditional knowledge changing with it, because I, I don't know if this is true, but I'm kind of guessing that there's a stereotype that when people hear traditional knowledge, they think of something old, that is sort of stuck in time and scientific knowledge is something new that is, you know, cutting edge. But that was one of the really interesting things I felt like came from the report is actually from an Inuit perspective, it's almost more like the reverse might be true, that scientific knowledge gets solidified and hardened and, you know, written down into this these forms that that make it not able to change, but that the Inuit knowledge is so much more adaptive.
That makes me think of universities vs. industry. I'm not sure if this is true in every industry, but I know that in mine the universities and colleges are often teaching things the way they were done 5 or 10 or 20 years ago. The only people who know how things are done right now are the people doing it every day, because they are the people who've been forced to adapt to every change that's come along.

There's certainly value to scientific knowledge that's informed by a worldwide perspective and access to data that people on the ground don't have, but the only people who know the dozens or hundreds of interrelated things that have changed this year which have forced them to get the job done differently are the people doing the job. Why would it be any different with Inuit hunters, especially with a climate that's changing so rapidly?
posted by clawsoon at 5:41 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]

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