Siku-Inuit-Hila (Sea Ice-People-Weather) Project

The Siku-Inuit-Hila (Sea ice, People, Weather) Project brought together Elders and hunters from Barrow (Alaska), Clyde River (Nunavut) and Qaanaaq (Greenland) with visiting scientists to study sea ice collectively as a research team. Together, the team travelled the sea ice in each of the three locations and met with other local experts. Using the unique approach of an international, multidisciplinary, and multicultural sea ice knowledge exchange, the team conducted a comparative study across different areas. Bringing together different ways of knowing, the team documented diverse knowledge and stories of sea ice including: (i) characteristics of sea ice and its use by Inuit, including the role of human-sea ice relationships in social organization and culture of the three communities, (ii) changes in Inuit use of sea ice over time, (iii) changes to sea ice, with particular attention to the features most crucial for human uses, (iv) recent human responses to changes in sea ice, and (v) societal impacts. Inuit leadership and Inuit knowledge from all three communities was central to the project and the project also included a sea ice monitoring network established in the three communities. One of the major outcomes was a large book project, “The Meaning of Ice: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities”. The book won the Polar Libraries Colloquy’s 2014 Mills Prize for best non-fiction polar book. 

Project leads: 
Shari Gearheard – Ittaq and University of Colorado and Lene Kielsen Holm – Inuit Circumpolar Council Greenland
Timeframe: 
2006-2013