Hunting for seals and other animals has long been a part of Inuit culture. But today, when hunters head out onto the sea ice, they can use modern technology to stay safe.
“With climate change, it’s becoming difficult to predict how the ice will form each year,” says Mick Appaqaq of Sanikiluaq, a small community on an island in Canada’s Hudson Bay. “Last winter is a really good example because the sea ice didn’t form as well as it used to. … There were some areas that were really thin, which were dangerous to cross.”
Appaqaq works for the Arctic Eider Society. The organization developed a mobile app for Inuit hunters. It’s called SIKU, which means “sea ice.” The app tracks users’ locations using GPS, and it allows them to share information about the wildlife they see and the ice conditions they encounter.
That information helps other hunters to know which areas are safe and which to avoid.
Appaqaq says the app is not a substitute for Indigenous knowledge.
“We will always be connected to traditional ways of knowing and observing and telling,” he says.
But it shows how modern technology can support cultural traditions as the climate changes.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.