Tuktu and Nogak Project (TNP) staff, Sandra Eyegetok and Natasha Thorpe, and Elder and Board member, Lena Kamoayok, were recently invited to present their work with the Tuktu and Nogak Project at an international conference. The 10th Arctic Ungulate Conference was held at the University of Tromsø, from August 9-13, 1999. This event brought together over two hundred circumpolar researchers of caribou, muskoxen and other hoofed animals.
On the second day of the conference, the TNP team orally presented their paper entitled Inuit Ecological Knowledge of Climatic Influences on Caribou and Calving Areas in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, Canada. This paper reported Inuit observations of changes in climate and how these have effected caribou calving, feeding and migrations. Western researchers and indigenous people were interested in Inuit observations of climatic changes and how these have impacted caribou, particularly the tundra vegetation upon which caribou feed.
During and after the conference the team met with several Saami people who are reindeer herders spread over an area about 400,000 km2. There are about 50,000 Saami people: 30,000 in Norway, 15,000 in Sweden, 4,000 in Finland and 2,000 in Russia (Rasmussen 1995). Lena, Sandra and Natasha were fortunate to visit with Berit Inga (email@example.com) in Jokkmokk, Sweden, for several days after the conference. Berit is a Saami woman working for a Saami Museum and completing her graduate degree. Her research project is to document Saami knowledge of reindeer. We also spent time with Jurann Eikjok,(firstname.lastname@example.org) another Saami women conducting research to document her peoples knowledge of traditional health practices and more. Jurann is involved with the Indigenous Peoples Network which is a organization that links indigneous women in the Arctic. These projects share many similarities with the Tuktu and Nogak Project. Together these and other indigenous knowledge projects will help people better understand caribou and reindeer in the circumpolar regions.
The Arctic Institute of North America, Nunavut Impact Review Board, Nunavut Planning Commission, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and Simon Fraser University generously provided support for Lena, Sandra and Natasha to present at the conference.
For more information about the conference and our meetings with Saami people, please see the Norway Conference Report.