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Climate, Culture, Change

Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North

by Timothy B. Leduc

Publication Year: 2011

Every day brings new headlines about climate change as politicians debate how to respond, scientists offer new data, and skeptics critique the validity of the research. To step outside these scientific and political debates, Timothy Leduc engages with various Inuit understandings of northern climate change. What he learns is that today’s climate changes are not only affecting our environments, but also our cultures. By focusing on the changes currently occurring in the north, he highlights the challenges being posed to Western climate research, Canadian politics and traditional Inuit knowledge.

Climate, Culture, Change sheds light on the cultural challenges posed by northern warming and proposes an intercultural response that is demonstrated by the blending of Inuit and Western perspectives.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Preface and Acknowledgements

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pp. I-VII

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Introduction: Endangered Knowledge

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pp. 1-18

This book is about climate change in the Canadian North, and the challenge it poses to both Western and indigenous knowledge. Many researchers have referred to the North as the climatic equivalent of the “canary in the mine,” the place where the onset of climate change will first be felt before triggering ...

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Sila Wisdom for a Time of Change

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pp. 19-48

Under the leadership of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian government has expressed significant interest in the changes that are impacting the northern ecology of the polar bear and Inuit culture. In his first year of power, Harper held a news conference in Churchill, Manitoba, also ...

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Researching Gaia’s Uncertain Climate

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pp. 49-78

In the lead-up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first elected minority Conservative government in January 2006, John Bennett of the Sierra Club raised a common concern among environmentalists that Harper’s comments on climate change while in opposition revealed a limited view “of the ...

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Canadian Call for a Global Conscience

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pp. 79-108

At the December 2005 Montreal Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Canada’s then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin addressed the gathering by stating climate change is “a global challenge that demands a global response, yet there are nations that resist, voices ...

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Colonial Apologies from Canada?

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pp. 109-142

In a June 11, 2008, national address to the indigenous victims of Canada’s residential schools, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the government’s role and asked “forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”¹ After describing the Residential Schools Settlement ...

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American Fuel for a Global Apocalypse

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pp. 143-178

At the 2005 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that argued the United States is legally responsible for climate changes that are destroying “the Arctic environment” and ...

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Making Carbon Confessions to Sedna

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pp. 179-212

After coming in as the runner-up for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore, the once Inuit Circumpolar Council Chair Sheila Watt-Cloutier stated “the issue has won and, in fact, our own planet Earth was a winner in all this ...

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Conclusion: Our Climatic Challenge

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pp. 213-238

There is, in his view, a kind of intuitive Silatuniq that the heart can offer our limited knowledge. Such a complementarity of rational and emotive understanding was evident at an Inuit elder conference when participants defined IQ as “using heart and head together ...


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pp. 239-256


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pp. 257-267

E-ISBN-13: 9780776619408
E-ISBN-10: 0776619403
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607504
Print-ISBN-10: 0776607502

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011