[MARMAM] IMCC 4 Focus Group: Understanding Alaskan Inuit food security and conservation through use

Raychelle Daniel raychelleg at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 13 15:50:21 PDT 2016

Hello all, 

I would like to invite those of you planning to attend the International Marine Conservation Congress in St. Johns, NL July 29-August 4 to participate in a focus group to be held prior to the conference.  Details on the workshop follow below.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Many thanks,
Raychelle Daniel



IMCC 2016
Pre-meeting Focus Group:  Understanding
Alaskan Inuit food security and conservation through use


Inuit homelands in Alaska for the Iñupaiq, St. Lawrence
Island Yupik, Central Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples includes the Arctic Ocean
coastline from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas southward to the Northern Bering
Sea coastline at the Yukon and Kuskokwim River delta.  The Alaskan Inuit understanding of food
security encompasses complex and interlinked cultural and environmental
systems.  These systems are comprised of
connections among the health of people, animals, and plants; the different
states of land, sea, and air; and the cultural fabric held together by
language, cultural expression, and social integrity. In Inuit systems it is
impossible to disentangle some of these relationships; when we discuss an Inuit
food security perspective, it is this interconnectivity and these relationships
that we refer to.


Conservation in Alaskan Inuit homelands often comes from the
perspective of conservation that benefits the environment first, and ultimately
the people that live there.  We propose
an alternate conservation paradigm that includes Inuit not only as a part of
the environment within the ecosystem; but also as part of the solution to
managing these Arctic ecosystems from within.  Inuit knowledge and management practices are
both a part of Alaskan Inuit food security, and would help move overall
management of Arctic systems to better include whole knowledge, and make
science matter.


Expected Outcomes:


In this workshop, representatives of the Inuit Circumpolar
Council-Alaska (ICC-AK) and The Pew Charitable Trusts U.S. Arctic Program,
members of the ICC-AK Food Security Project Advisory Committee will share the
main concepts of conservation through use and the importance of applying a food
security lens to management within the Arctic.  We will highlight the complexities that the
rapid changes associated with climate change occurring within the Arctic are
bringing, and how Inuit knowledge and experience may help address management
challenges.  Inuit have followed
traditional management practices, applying a food security lens, which has
sustained the people and the environment for time immemorial.


These practices demonstrate a strong value system focused on
conservation through use, based on an Inuit food security lens (ICC-AK).  Practices are built on principles such as “do
not take more than what is needed.” These words impart multiple facets of
understanding that include people take only what they can process, store and
consume within their family or community.  They also include lessons that include stewardship
and sustainable practices; for example, always leaving enough for the continued
respect for the ecosystem that it is a part of.  During traditional bowhead whaling a
cease-fire is called once the number of whales that can be processed within a
given time is reached.  This example
demonstrates that the phrase “don’t take more than what is needed” is not based
on arbitrary numbers and is aligned with conservation, respect, and
socio-ecological beliefs.  This
management practice is used in the collection of all food sources and must
consider not only how many people are required and available for the processing
and storing of food but also the environmental conditions required for these


In sharing this information, concepts, and value system we
hope to open up a dialogue with the focus group participants.  The conversation will focus on bridging value
systems.  With the understanding that
culture is part of the Arctic ecosystem, we hope to identify areas where shared
conservation values may help advance Arctic ecosystem based management.


Following the workshop, we will draft a white paper, those
interested in participating should contact us.


Format and


The workshop will have several short, informal presentations
to help build on our definitions presented in the abstract.  We would prefer an open room with a round
table style set-up that will allow for discussion.  It will be a facilitated discussion, and we
will prepare questions ahead of time.  We
would also like to share reading materials in advance of the workshop so that
participants are prepared and ready to participate. Details include:

ID: FG34: Friday, July 29 (Half-day focus group
in the morning) 

Time: 8:30-12:30

Pre-registration is required

Focus group fee: $36USD for non-students from
developed countries; $24USD for students; $12USD for delegates from developing

Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St.
John's NL A1C 5R3





Carolina Behe, Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska;

Raychelle Daniel, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Denali Whiting, ICC-AK Food Security Advisory

Harry Brower, ICC-AK Food Security Project
Contributing Author North Slope Borough Wildlife Department; 

Qaiyaan Harcharek, ICC-AK Food Security Advisory
Committee and North Slope Borough Wildlife Department; 

Vera Metcalf, ICC-AK Food Security Project
Contributing Author and Eskimo Walrus Commission;

Vivian Korthuis, ICC-AK Food Security Project
Contributing Author and Association of Village Council Presidents; 

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Kawerak Inc.



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