Little Diomede Hunters and Elders Ecological Knowledge, Management Strategies, and Usage of Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) in Bering Strait
Pacific walruses have been a crucial subsistence resource for communities in the Bering Strait region since approximately 2500BP. Communities on Saint Lawrence Island, King Island, as well as Big and Little Diomede islands developed complex walrus hunting techniques and usages. Current hunting practices are the realization of traditions with significant temporal depth. Consequently, these communities hold of rich ecological knowledge of walruses. Documentation of bio-ecological and anthropological knowledge of walruses is limited. Our goal is to contribute to both of genres through a multidisciplinary approach involving linguistic ethno-biological and cultural anthropological methods as well as analysis in the documentation of local and traditional knowledge (LTK) of walruses through time on Little Diomede (Ingalik) Island. This project utilizes published and un-published anthropological and archival data from both sides of Bering Strait in addition to LTK structured life history interviews, and linguistic research with expert Ingalik hunters and elders living in the regional hub community of Nome and on Little Diomede Island. We will examine the cultural-ecological relationship between humans and walruses to document: 1) historic observations and changes in behavior and abundance of walruses in response to environmental phenomena; 2) historic human community adjustments to changes in behavior and abundance of walruses; 3) recent changes in walrus ecology in response to human and environmental factors and the linkages between these recent changes and historic hunting practices. Through these inquiries we seek to elucidate the relationships between Ingalik people and walrus which forms the basis for LTK, hunting resource management, and usage.
Data and Resources
Report :: July 2012 Progress Report
Website :: Project Summary
Status was changed to Complete