Why Climate Scientists Depend on Alaska’s Indigenous Communities Now More Than Ever

From the article by Maddie Stone published by Gizmodo on October 11, 2017:

Western science has a long history of dismissing of indigenous knowledge. But in Utqiaġvik, the 4,400-strong Iñupiat community at the northern tip of Alaska’s North Slope, scientists have come to rely on Native experts’ unmatched familiarity with the Arctic environment. Now, some of the same whalers who worked with biologists to revise the bowhead census forty years ago, along with other Native hunters across Alaska, are partnering with researchers to document and interpret the signs of human-caused climate change.

“Local indigenous experts have a very sophisticated understanding of the environment, far more sophisticated than some of us scientists have,” Hajo Eicken, a sea ice researcher who works with indigenous communities across the North Slope and Western Alaska, told me from his office at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. “But it’s a different form of knowledge.”