troubled watersLiving on the edge

The long journey of the changing generations

Read the accounts below of the three generations, then download and print out the map above, and plot the hunting routes.

My name is Rasmus and I am a subsistence hunter from Siorapaluk in Greenland. It is April 1970 and we are travelling on a month long hunting trip to the Humboldt Glacier in search of polar bear. We make our own sledges and clothing to allow us to deal with the extreme environment of the High Arctic between 76° and 80°N. We share and barter our hunt with other members of the 62 people who live in our village. My wife will sew me new polar bear trousers which will enable me to deal with the -30° Celsius temperatures at this time of year.



My name is Jens and I used to live in the village of Qeqertat until 2007. However we could not make enough money from hunting narwhal last summer so we migrated to the larger village of Qaanaaq where my wife is now a teacher at the school. Her job enables me to continue to hunt for food from the area. The Home Rule government in Nuuk has allocated me quotas to hunt for caribou and musk oxen in Inglefield land during the months of July and August. I will travel by speedboat with a geographer who wants to study the ice cap near the Humboldt glacier. Today in April, I am travelling from the village of Siorapaluk but the thinner ice now breaks up a fortnight sooner than it used to in 2000. The geographer says that it is because of global warming. It will make it harder to hunt for seals, but it might be easier to hunt for narwhal in the longer periods of open water. However travel to the villages like Siorapaluk and Moriussaq could be made impossible for longer periods of the year.



My name is Masauisiaq and I am spending the holidays in 2010 learning the various hunting skills at my Grandmother's summer camp near the Red Cliffs in McCormick Bay, Greenland. However I do not wish to be a hunter as the life is very hard and does not give you a good income for all the goods we need to have to enjoy life in Qaanaaq where I currently live. Next year I will be leaving the area to go to Denmark to continue my education. This will give me the qualifications to be a policeman when I grow up. 20 years from now I will probably have to supervise the increasing numbers of tourists who wish to visit areas like the Humboldt Glacier by cruise ship and perhaps see the declining numbers of polar bears who cross over from Ellesmere Island in Canada.



Draw a timeline to show how the lives of the Inuit people in Qaanaaq have changed since 1970 and how they might change in the next 30 years. Use the accounts above and the map of the retreating glaciers to help you.


Other Arctic communities have experienced change. Susie, a member of the Inuit community in Nunavut explains some of the changes which have happened in her life (video by Arctic Voice).

All Greenland photos this page copyright R.Molony


Home | 1: Climate change | 2: Living on the edge | 3: Arctic science | 4: Hunter or hunted? | 5: Postcard from the edge | 6: Troubled waters | 7: Resources from the edge | 8: Arctic Circumpolar Governance | 9: Snow, water, ice, permafrost | 10: Adapting to change

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