Drastic changes are occurring within the Arctic and Inuit are on the forefront of these changes. In recent years food security has increasingly become a topic of conversation and is gaining more attention. But what does food security mean to those that call the Arctic home?
Through this Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska (ICC-AK) project led by the Alaskan Inuit (Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Central Yup’ik and Cup’ik), the Alaskan Inuit Food Security Conceptual Framework: How to Access the Arctic from an Inuit Perspective report illuminates the meaning of Alaskan Inuit food security and lay out an assessment process.
In the report it is clear that Inuit food security is more than calories, more than nutrients, as explained by a contributing author: “We are speaking about the entire Arctic ecosystem and the relationships between all components within; we are talking about how our language teaches us when, where and how to obtain, process, store and consume food; we are talking about the importance of dancing and potlucks to share foods and how our economic system is tied to this; we are talking about our rights to govern how we obtain, process, store and consume food; about our Indigenous knowledge and how it will aid in illuminating these changes that are occurring. We are talking about what food security means to us, to our people, to our environment and how we see this environment; we are talking about our culture.” — Executive Summary
The report is the product of 146 contributing Inuit authors, a 12-member advisory committee, ICC-AK and their membership organizations. A summary and recommendations report was created for those who are looking for a quick glimpse at what food security means to Alaskan Inuit, what it means to apply a food security lens to assessments, and recommendations for strengthening food security. For a deeper understanding and more in-depth discussion, a technical report has been created. Within both reports you will find: 1) recommendations, 2) key barriers, 3) the food security conceptual framework, and 4) drivers of food security and insecurity. The technical report also lays out a food security assessment process.
“To look at environmental health through an Inuit food security lens requires one to undergo a paradigm shift. One must be willing to attempt to understand the Inuit culture to know what Inuit mean when they talk about food security.” — James Stotts
ICC-Alaska hopes that the report will be of use to a broad spectrum of people. Villages may use the report to aid in communicating with those from outside their communities. Decision-makers, academics, environmentalists, policy-makers and industry may use the reports as a tool to enhance their understanding of the Arctic. The report is accessible on the ICC-Alaska website.
The food security report also is linked below: