Polar Oceans Governance in an Era of Environmental Change
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Polar Oceans Governance in an Era of Environmental Change

Edited by Tim Stephens and David L. VanderZwaag

This timely book provides a cutting-edge assessment of how the dynamic ocean regions at the highest latitudes on Earth are being managed in an era of unprecedented environmental change. The Arctic and Southern Oceans are experiencing transformative environmental change as a result of climate change and ocean acidification. As areas of unparalleled environmental, cultural and scientific value, they are crucibles for testing how integrated, eco-systemic governance frameworks can be developed to meet and address volatile environmental, political and economic challenges.
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Chapter 10: Inuit perspectives on governance in the Canadian Arctic

Shelley Wright


The Arctic is ruled by ice. For Inuit and the animals they hunt it is the platform on which life is lived. This platform exists for most of the year from the autumn freeze-up to break-up in the spring - about eight or nine months. This period of ice used to last from October to late June, depending on where you were in the Arctic. The ice became a solid surface from the month of tusaqtuut or the 'time of visiting' (November) when the ice froze hard enough to use as a travel route from one community to another. The Inuit would often make camp on the ice through tauvikjuak or the 'great darkness', when the Sun remains below the horizon for weeks or months at a time. For hundreds or thousands of years Inuit have gone out to the floe-edge to hunt for beluga whales, narwhal, bowhead, seals and walrus. Only during the warm months when the ice retreated did most Inuit travel inland to hunt for caribou, muskox and other land mammals. The Inuit and the animals they hunted have depended on the ice for thousands of years. But this ancient reality is changing.

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