Inuvialuit Perspectives of Polar Bear Population Health and Harvest Sustainability

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: traditional knowledge, wildlife, culture, harvest, polar bear, harvest sustainability

Principal Investigator: Slavik, Daniel VW (3)
Licence Number: 14416
Organization: University of Alberta, Dept. of Rural Economy
Licensed Year(s): 2010 2009 2008
Issued: Aug 25, 2008

Objective(s): The objectives of this research are to document Inuvialuit knowledge, perspectives, and observations of factors that influence polar bears population health on Banks Island and in the Beaufort Region; and explore how traditional knowledge, community observations, scientific studies, and other information interact to inform hunters about sustainable harvest levels of polar bears.

Project Description: This licence is issued for the scientific research application #892.

The objectives of this research are to document Inuvialuit knowledge, perspectives, and observations of factors that influence polar bears population health on Banks Island and in the Beaufort Region; and explore how traditional knowledge, community observations, scientific studies, and other information interact to inform hunters about sustainable harvest levels of polar bears.

This community-based research will occur over 2-3 months in the communities of Sachs Harbour and Inuvik, NWT. The proposed social sciences research will combine traditional knowledge research methods with community-approved methods, and will involve community-based participatory research, group discussions, and semi-directed interviews with 15-25 locally recognized experts and knowledge holders identified by the IGC, Sachs Harbour HTC, and Community Steering Committee. Interviews in the community and on-the-land will be documented on video to capture the Inuvialuit perspective of polar bear population health and harvest sustainability.

This research will also include a follow-up workshop held 5-6 months after initial fieldwork, the researcher will return to the community to host a workshop with the steering committee and research participants. The purpose is to verify the findings and accuracy of the draft report, add missing information (or remove information the publication of which might harm individual/community interests), and share the “rough-cut” of the video for community feedback.
This research will employ one youth research assistant from Sachs Harbour to assist in conducting and videotaping interviews. The researcher will also provide the youth with some training in social science research and film-making.

As this research incorporates video methods, Sachs Harbour will own the video and all footage produced from this research, and will be recognized as a co-producer of the video. As a deliverable of this research, the community will have a copy of the video thesis to use for cultural and educational purposes.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 15 to December 15, 2008 in Sachs Harbour and in Inuvik (limited to past Sachs Harbour residents).