Inuit, Whaling, and Sustainability

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Overview

Whales inspire great fascination in the public culture of industrialized nations. Images of majestic and mysterious creatures of the sea, hunted to or nearly to tragic extinction in a emblematic example of human excess, have fueled the economic and cultural power of this century's global movement to end whale hunting. However, this political movement, and the ecological research it initiated, has largely ignored the experience of Native circumpolar communities, whose vast knowledge of whales and whaling has evolved through centuries of integrated cultural and economic practices rooted in the ethics of subsistence consumption and sustainability. Today, the Inuit find themselves struggling with international management regimes which, while they have been successful in curbing the destruction of large-scale, commercial whaling enterprises, have imposed policies that are insensitive to the needs and traditions of Native subsistence hunters. Inuit, Whaling, and Sustainability is based on extensive ethnographic, ecological, and policy research sponsored by the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and presents Inuit perspectives on the integral role whales play in cultural, economic, philosophical, and nutritional aspects of Inuit life. This book is also the first major publication to engage in policy analysis, and formulate modes of environmental research, grounded in Inuit voices and realities. Sponsored by the Inuit Circumpolar Conference
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Editorial Reviews

Practicing Anthropology
This is an exceptional book. . . a rare initiative in the field of Arctic cultural ecology combined with clear-eyed and forthright confrontation of issues. . . . The provenance of the book is impressive. The authors are internationally respected experts in the field....The straightforward assertions of the Inuit quoted, most of them speaking contemporarily in this last decade of the millennium, arrest the eye, challenge the conscience, evoke respect, and generate desire for policy reform and international action that will recognize the indigenous rights and sustainable feasibility of Inuit whaling....The book is well-illustrated...[and] has significant implications for people concerned with socioeconomic, ecological and human rights issues not only in the Arctic, but in many other settings in the world.
Natural Resources Forum 24
This book is a well-organized presentation of arguments and issues from a perspective that has so far been very limited in print format, making for an intellectually and ethically stimulating read. Bibliographic references are recent and from a wide variety of sources. The reviewer strongly recommends this book to those interested in environmental ethics and natural resource management. The reader will gain access to an Inuit perspective generally not available and a greater understanding and appreciation for their culture.
— Raquel Roizman, (University of Northern British Columbia)
Choice
The authors demonstrate that whaling provides and requires reinforcement of traditional patterns of obligation/connectedness, leadership, maintenance of cultural connections, validation of elders, and spiritual satisfaction; in addition, Inuit hunting knowledge is essential to understanding sustainable whale management.
Journal of The West
This volume is an important contribution to the history of the American West because it puts the cultural anthropology of the American Inuit people into a clear and accessible light.
— Michael Dyer
The Great Circle, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1999 - Eric Wilson
A composite work by a panel of authors (including natural resource management scholar Milton M. R. Freeman and renowned Russian Arctic anthropologist Igor I. Krupnik), the text does a remarkably successful job in presenting a trans-regional (Siberian, Alaskan, Canadian) aboriginal perspective on the highly emotional debate concerning whaling and the indigenous whale fishery; the text does serve a useful purpose in articulating a position-that of indigenous peoples -which is largely underrepresented in mainstream western media....For a medium compendium of indigenous arctic whale techniques, Inuit, Whale, and Sustainability in a very good place to begin.
Natural Resources Forum 24 - Raquel Roizman
This book is a well-organized presentation of arguments and issues from a perspective that has so far been very limited in print format, making for an intellectually and ethically stimulating read. Bibliographic references are recent and from a wide variety of sources. The reviewer strongly recommends this book to those interested in environmental ethics and natural resource management. The reader will gain access to an Inuit perspective generally not available and a greater understanding and appreciation for their culture.
Ecumene, (4) - Noel Castree
Inuit, Whaling, and Sustainability makes a persuasive case for attending to the specific needs of Inuit communities in the future regulation of whaling. One hopes that its arguments will actually reach the policymakers whose decisions impact so decisively on these indigenous groups.
CHOICE
The authors demonstrate that whaling provides and requires reinforcement of traditional patterns of obligation/connectedness, leadership, maintenance of cultural connections, validation of elders, and spiritual satisfaction; in addition, Inuit hunting knowledge is essential to understanding sustainable whale management.
David Scrivner
It challenges some of the stereotypes prevalent in Southern metropoles concerning the nature of the Inuit-whaling relationship and precisely what the category of aboriginal whaling should consist of a valuable addition to reading lists on the international politics of whaling and a very refreshing read.
Journal Of The West - Michael Dyer
This volume is an important contribution to the history of the American West because it puts the cultural anthropology of the American Inuit people into a clear and accessible light.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Illustrations 7
Foreword 9
Preface 13
Acknowledgments 15
Introduction: A Book On Inuit Whaling? 19
Ch. 1 The Importance of Inuit Whaling Today 29
Social Importance 30
Whales as a Source of Food 35
Cultural Importance 38
Nutrition and Health 45
Economic Importance 49
Whaling and Spirituality 53
Ch. 2 Whaling By Inuit: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow 59
Beluga Hunting 59
Bowhead Hunting 71
Gray Whale Hunting 84
Humpback and Fin Whale Hunting 88
Minke Whale Hunting 90
Narwhal Hunting 92
Hunting for Other Small Whales 94
Ch. 3 Human Rights and the International Whaling Commission 99
The International Whaling Treaty 100
Other Relevant International Initiatives 101
Recent Actions at the International Whaling Commission 107
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