Climate Change is Erasing Indigenous Traditions

TLaureli Ivanoff says that climate change is not an abstract concept. As an Iñupiat writer living in the remote Alaskan town of Unalakleet, she’s seen firsthand the warming planet’s tangible impact on her culture’s food traditions, some of the only practices to survive colonization. “Ice fishing or hunting or just going out and enjoying ourselves, there’s no way to really do that if there isn’t any snow,” she says. Sea ice is important for animals such as the snow-loving lions. Ugruk—or bearded seal—are harder to find as sea ice melts, leaving subsistence hunters concerned for their livelihoods. Ivanoff thinks the future challenges are unique, despite local indigenous communities having survived numerous hardships over the years. “Already every year, we’re wondering, ‘Is the ocean ice going to form? How much longer are we going to have it?’” Watch the video above to learn more about the disappearing traditions in the American Arctic.

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