Archive for the ‘2010 Field Seminar’ Category

One of the many topics we covered in Dartmouth’s IGERT courses is the concept of Local Knowledge (LK), that is, knowledge acquired and held by people who live in a certain area or region. This is similar to Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), however TEK is generally thought to have a historical component and is passed down and shared across generations.

Both LK and TEK have cultural and scientific value. Here in Greenland we have been privy to both. Last year Julia and I learned about ‘Sea Tomatoes’ in a lake outside of town, passed on to us as Local Knowledge by some Danish friends who live in Kangerlussuaq.
sea tomatoes
sea tomatoes
While not really from the sea and not really tomatoes, we would have never learned of this unique ecological feature if it weren’t for the sharing of Local Knowledge. After exploring the lake with sea tomatoes and doing a bit of research, we learned that these are actually cyanobacteria, specifically Nostoc, and quite common in the Arctic. Nostoc is known to form large colonies, however, none quite as big as what we found here in Greenland.
colossal sea tomato
[Colossal Sea Tomato found on 15 June 2011.]
Hoping the 2011 IGERT field seminar students can continue to unravel the mystery of these Sea Tomatoes.

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Sorry to those of you reading that we haven’t posted in the past week. As much a fun and amazing experience as getting to go to Greenland for field work was, being home sure is nice, and things tend to pile up when your gone. I’ve spent the past week mowing and baling my lawn, cleaning out some questionable items in my fridge, getting through most of my ignored email, doing some (nasty) laundry, repainting (maybe this wasn’t necessary), and catching up with family and friends. I didn’t want to leave our postings about Nuuk as they were however, because such would be a disservice to the amazing friends who offered us such incredible hospitality in Nuuk.

A key theme of our hospitality in Nuuk was food; local, delicious, Greenlandic food. Some hunted, some gathered, and some farmed… all amazing. Though we attempted to kick off our Greenlandic food trials at a restaurant our first night with a tasting of various muskox, whale, and reindeer dishes, our true introduction evening came from the gracious hosting of the Poppels. The Poppels really gave us the insider’s scoop on the luxuries of Greenlandic food by providing us with an incredible 5+ course, home made dinner almost 100% from Greenland, complete with commentary and lively discussion on each dish. I simply could not say enough how amazing it was.

Poppel's view!
View from the Poppels’ back deck!

Course 1:

Greenlandic Heather Smoked Char seasoned with Ground Angelica Leaves.

Greenlandic Lump Fish on Toasted Rye Bread with Crème Fraiche.

Course 2:

Greenlandic Scallops, with Roe, Roasted with Garlic

Greenlandic Snow Crab

Course 3:

Smoked Greenlandic Minke Whale, Smoked Greenlandic Lamb, Smoked Greenlanidic Muskox, and Rolled, Parsely Seasoned Belly of Greenlandic Lamb; all Served with Garnishes of Scrambled Eggs, Homemade Greenlandic Pickled Beetroots, Cornichons, and Homemade Marmalades of Greenlandic Rhubarb and Crowberry.


Greenlandic Reindeer Steak with Greenlandic Potatoes and Wild Greenlandic Bolete Mushrooms in a Seasoned with Honey Mustard Reduction.


Greenlandic Coffee (coffee with added Kahlua, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and burned Grand Marnier)

Local Beverages:

‘Christmas Beer 2009’ and ‘Irish Porter’ both brewed at the local micro brewery, Godthåb Bryghus

Greenlandic Vodka (SIKU) with three different flavours: ‘Angelica’, ‘Crowberry’ and ‘Dried content from a ptarmigan’s gizzard’

Water flavored with pieces of Angelica stalk

Things didn’t end there. We discovered one part of the Danish influence in Greenland likely to be pretty much uncontroversial… the Danes had brought with them the recipe for a pastry which bears their name, in its true and most delicious form. Those of us used to eating such fine products as Wonder Bread, even in towns, during fieldwork were beyond delighted. Acquiring pastries quickly became a morning ritual for some of us, perhaps to the detriment of our waistlines.

No sooner had we downed our first set of pastries, it was time to meet with the “Food Ambassador of Greenland”. Anna Sophie, an ex-banker who has decided to make a career change, and who now devotes her time to the pursuit of writing and creating food. We met her at the hunters and fishers market to begin the process of making our second five star Greenlandic dinner. The market is certainly a sight to behold. Clearly this venue is what American Grocers are trying (poorly) to imitate with the meat and fish counters at the back of the store. This open air market, however, held a bounty of quantity, quality, and freshness unparalleled in even the most expensive grocers, if display was a bit less lavish. Whole Cod, Char, and Wolf Fish on one table. Filets of Halibut, Redfish, and Dried Capelin on another.  Replacing the “big three” (beef, chicken, and pork) of American stores was a freshly quartered Reindeer yearling next to a mostly butchered muskox. Further back, a Minke whale is being parted out, tongue in one bin, Mataq (skin and blubber) in another, roasts, flukes… its all there. The deep red meat of a seal stands out on another table, just below the dried fish rack. There are blueberries and crowberries, a few packs of frozen Greenlandic Prawns. The listed price for meat is flat rate – 70 kroner per kilo for Reindeer (about $5.75/lb), even though all the cuts are present. Its clear that the price is only for us tourists, haggling is expected based on the cut, the freshness, the weather, your current mood, and whatever else you feel is important in a pricing decision. Much of the meat is not yet completely butchered. We buy the whole hind quarter of a young reindeer, and a large chunk of whale. Anso (as Anna Sophie is often called) isn’t pleased with the fish selection this particular day, so off we head to the supermarket, where there is an entire frozen section of similar catches. From these we select a small, whole frozen, Greenlandic halibut before perusing the rest of the store for other additions to the meal.

Anso had planned the meal in advance, and after a quick tour of her home (which has an amazing view of the harbor) put us to work on preparing the various dishes. The preparation started with Anso dropping the Reindeer quarter on the counter with a bit of splatter and sound for effect, before dismantling it into roasts, steaks, and tidbits (which we used the following day as pizza topping). Far from the concerns of bacterial strains evolved on a Nebraska feedlot with names like O157:H7, we tried a bit of raw reindeer – very good in my opinion, but mixed reviews in the group overall. A few hours of snacking and cooking later we’d transformed our ingredients into yet another amazing meal this time the menu included:

Reindeer Carpaccio

Halibut Sushi

Raw Greenlandic Prawns

Roast Reindeer

Potato salad

Reindeer Steaks

Greens Salad

Raspberry Custard Dessert

In order to aid our digestion, we also had the treat of the incoming darkness around the time of a mild geomagnetic storm and simultaneous meteor shower, under a new moon, with noctilucent clouds in the Northern twilight. The show, while not the most vivid Aurora ever, featured some beautiful dancing green and red curtains, with an overhead “gods eye” and was complimented incredibly by the darkness of the old Harbor, quaint buildings, occasional meteor streak, and electric blue glow of the noctilucent clouds, making it a sky to remember two nights in a row.

On our final night in Nuuk, the remaining three of us gave our talks at the cultural center. Nearly rescheduled or canceled due to the arrival of Greenpeace protesters and anti-protestors, the talks still went off, and many of our new friends were dedicated enough to brave the boos of the crowd outside (who didn’t understand there was a second event in Katuaq, unrelated to the Greenpeace talks) to attend.

To me, the dynamic of Greenpeace (an organization which I used to be a member of) being in Greenland was extremely interesting and I asked many people about it, and so I digress a bit. Greenpeace, it seems, made a very bad name for itself in Greenland by opposing the seal hunt and helping to institute a ban on the importation of seal products in Europe and (more importantly) killing the market for seal goods by changing public opinion. This took away many Greenlanders ability to earn a living in a more traditional way, hunting on the ocean, and has resulted in a significant expansion of the seal population which now competes with fisherman, directly on a few species, and indirectly on many others. Apparently, some national Greenpeace organizations have apologized to the Greenlandic people for the harm they did economically and culturally by protesting the seal hunt, but others have not. I didn’t quite catch which one was which, but the organization which was present in Greenland this day was not warmly received judging by the size of the counter protest. Their mission this time, however, was not seal hunting related, but rather protesting the offshore exploratory oil drilling which has been authorized by the Greenlandic government and is now being undertaken by Scottish Cairn Energy off the West coast of Greenland. The frustration of many people we talked to was apparent. There is a feeling that Greenpeace is opposed to the use of more or less all Greenland’s resources, both the renewable and non-endangered seals, and now the oil, which is, we are told, being developed using Norwegian safety standards, much higher than U.S. standards. One key difference, explained to us, is that parallel wells are drilled from the start so that a relief well is already present (rather than 3 months away) if something should go wrong. The feeling on the street is something like, “here we have a portfolio of resources and a desire for economic development which will lead to independence. We must develop some of them responsibly, and here is a group which seems opposed to all.” Nevertheless, many Greenlanders also feel that the resource extraction is proceeding too quickly and carelessly, a few even say, quietly because of how sensitive dealing with Greenpeace is, that they would like to hear what Greenpeace has to say and perhaps work with them to make sure any development happens well. A complex issue which we did not get all the information on for sure.

I would have liked to hear what Greenpeace had to say in their presentations so that I knew more than hearsay about their stance but we did not have time. Instead, I’ve done some searching to see what they’ve been up to in Greenland via the press and checked out their web page for updates, and have been sadly disappointed. The headlines include activists dodging Danish military vessels to dangle below drilling platforms with climbing gear, stopping the drilling, and getting arrested, as well as plentiful rhetoric about the global addiction to oil, danger of oil spills etc. There is no discussion, however, about this local project… about the drilling techniques being employed, Greenland’s desires or rights to develop safely, or the pros and cons of this particular project. I’m actually a bit surprised to see that the people I spoke to on the street had, it appears, a fully informed view of Greenpeace’s activities and objectives in Greenland. Greepeace expresses no interest on their site in an informed discussion of pros and cons for development and are polarizing an issue in a country where legitimate discourse on resource development has a real chance. I only hope that there is some more thoughtful behind-the-scenes work going on, and that they will start focusing on that instead.

Meanwhile, my digression over, the crowd at our talks was bigger this time. Many folks from the Government, Institute of Natural Resources, and a collection of the friends we’d made over the past 10 days joined us. Gifford and Kaitlin discussed their work with firn (snow on its way to becoming solid glacial ice) and how they are trying to learn more about how the snow traps air during it many decade process of closing off bubbles – important to understanding the records of past climate which we decipher from the cores. I got to tell everyone about my favorite topic, sea ice, and explain why the dramatic changes we are seeing are important both to the people who directly experience them in the Arctic and also because sea ice loss can affect global climate. We all hope we gave them a decent show.

After the talks we decided to have a reception and going away party of sorts to see all of our new friends one last time before heading out. We expected perhaps 5 or 10 people to show up. Instead the place was packed with people that we were excited to hang out with and talk with into the wee hours of our last night in Nuuk. An amazing way to be sent off, and we really can’t thank our hosts at the University, in ICC, in the Self Government, at the Institute of Natural Resources, the Poppels, and everyone else we met for providing us with an amazing and very informative stay in Nuuk. Thank you all!

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One of the main objectives of our 10-day stay in Nuuk was to connect with people and institutions to build a better understanding of the social context of our scientific research. Basically, we wanted to hear what Greenlanders think foreign scientists should know about Greenland.

Thanks to a well cultivated academic partnership, the University of Greenland graciously hosted a 4-part lecture series for us. The series gave us a really rich way to explore social and cultural issues from a Greenlandic perspective. The  lecture topics were: “History of Greenland” taught by Professor Thorkild Kjaergaard in the History Department, “Living Conditions in the Arctic” presented by Professor Birger Poppel, an Economist, “Greenlandic Literature and Oral Tradition” by Professor Karen Langgard of the Language, Literature and Media Studies Department, and “Ghost Stories in Greenlandic Culture” by Professor Birgit Kleist Pedersen, also from the Language, Literature and Media Studies Department.

A clear take-home message, which tied these lectures together, is that Greenlandic, the indigenous language, is the language of power within Greenland. Greenlandic is an Inuit language that came to Greenland with the Inuit migration from Canada and it has a rich history of survival through the colonial era and into the present. Today, a majority of Greenlanders speak Greenlandic at home, and Greenlandic is the official language of the government. Coming from America, where English is so pervasive that we rarely think about the importance of language at all, I could not help but be struck by how closely Greenlandic is tied to personal identity and is seriously discussed in relation to national political and social issues, such as industrial development and immigration policy.  We covered a lot of ground during the lecture series and, even though we could only skim the surface of some very complicated topics, the new material has undoubtedly given us a richer understanding of how our research–and even just our presence in Greenland–fits into the bigger picture.

We are extremely grateful to the University of Greenland faculty members for putting together such an informative lecture series! We are particularly appreciative that it could happen despite the fact that our visit coincided with the summer break. The University facilities are brand new, spectacularly beautiful, and technologically top-notch (whoa, Smartboards!). It left me hoping that I will be able to return during the school year to meet more students and get a better sense of the student body.

While it might seem to make a lot of sense to partner with the local academic institution, the background of the series development is not entirely straight forward. The challenge that the program coordinators faced in negotiating the academic partnership stems from the absence of science programs at the University of Greenland. Why no science? The University is growing, but the main student body still only has 150 students, which is not enough to generate the student demand or resources required for the upfront and long-term investment in sciences. Lenore Grenoble and Ross Virginia, the IGERT faculty who have been cultivating Dartmouth’s relationship with the University, entered the discussions knowing that the expertise amongst the faculty does not directly overlap with our fields of research. As I understand it, Ross and Lenore simply ask the University faculty what they might be able to contribute that could inform our understanding of Greenland. The great advantage of the 4-part lecture series was that it took advantage of their expertise and did a lot to broaden our understanding of social-cultural dimensions of Greenland. We owe many thanks to the University of Greenland and Lenore and Ross for coordinating such a valuable opportunity–Thanks so much!

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As Kaitlin mentioned, the 13th of August was a fantastically interactive day, filled with new insights and homegrown perspectives. I was especially rapt during our group’s time with Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the graduate students at the University of Greenland.

Without recapitulating the whole of my minor infatuation with climate-related international policy, sitting with Inuuteq represented a very special opportunity to converse with a prominent voice in Greenland’s Self Government. His position exposes him to a number of issues in a number of fora with a number of people; from international waters to national education, in the Arctic Council to the EU, and with Aqqaluk Lynge to Hilary Clinton, Inuuteq’s portfolio of governmental responsibilities gives his insight a holistically nuanced quality. Surprisingly, the discussion was casual and conversational, and it was easy to forget with whom we were talking, but as the various questions were answered with his steady-state aplomb I was reminded of our group’s fortune with growing admiration. He spoke on a number of topics, as Kaitlin outlined, and as the meeting wound down and we zeroed in on how, if there was a specific strategy, our particular group of (very) early career scientists could be most helpful, he simply stated that we should share with Greenland (and the world) what our science uncovers. Be present. He wanted us to engage the populace – to raise the level of debate via a general increase in available knowledge and insight. “Roger, willco.”

As for our later meeting with some of the graduate students at University of Greenland, I enjoyed an innocent rediscovery of my appreciation for ethnicity and identity. My undergraduate degree, completed many moons ago at UC Berkeley, was in Asian American Studies. At the time, Berkeley boasted a robust Ethnic Studies Department and benefited from an incredibly diverse student (and surrounding area) population. In some ways, however, diversity can be “real,” “statistical,” or both, and while in many ways Berkeley’s diversity was both, there are times when diversity is not especially real. Statistical diversity might rear its ugly head in the form of epithets, such as the occasionally uttered, “Go back to your home country,” some strangers would throw towards me, not knowing that my home country was actually the same as theirs. That said, it was especially interesting to hear some of the identity issues of Greenlanders growing up in Nuuk. The strong Danish influence coupled with the history of intermarriage results in a very complex hierarchy of “Greenlander-ness.” One student shared how she, on numerous occasions, had to “prove” her worth by demonstrating that she could speak Greenlandic, and that this was borne from her mixed-heritage looks. It could be a reflection of life in the big city, it could reflect a growing sense of self and nationalism, or it could just be that handfuls of young folks across the world are similarly ignorant. Regardless, this frank discussion between our IGERT group and the graduate students reminded me of the ever-important human component in our endeavors.

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Language identity is a very important part of culture here. Greenlandic is one of the few Arctic people’s languages that is still used as the predominate language of communication by a large group of people. There is a wide array of publications in Greenlandic including all of the ‘classic’ books translated to Greenlandic, a significant body of Greenlandic literature and poetry, and the existence of Greenlandic publishing houses, all of which is indicative of the vitality of the language. Though classified as ‘endangered’ by the U.N. permanent forum on indigenous peoples due to the fact that it has only about 50,000 speakers (roughly the size of its population), Greenlandic is not considered endangered by most linguists. Greenlandic, it seems, is actually being spoken by an increasing number of people each year, and though the total population is small, the rich literature, strong recruitment of young speakers in the population and the transition to the use of Greenlandic as the official language under the Greenlandic Self-Rule government are all securing the language’s future as a part of culture here. Illustrating the challenge of maintaining one’s culture in an ever-modernizing global environment, most Greenlanders are at least bilingual, if not fluently trilingual. Greenlandic and Danish are taught concurrently in elementary school, with English becoming their third language sometime around gymnasium (high school). It is amazing that most people, especially young people, can communicate with us very fluently in English yet be able to switch back to Greenlandic or Danish in an instant. I think that we are all thoroughly impressed!

One of our meetings today was with Carl Christian Olsen (Puju), the head of the Self-Rule government’s Language Secretariat, charged with maintaining the integrity and proper use of the Greenlandic language. He was able to share with us some of the history of the Greenlandic language, where it is currently used, and the standardization-of-script process which allows for Greenlandic to be preserved. It is clear how important this language is to the vibrant Greenlandic culture.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Innuteq Holm Olsen, Greenland’s Deputy Foreign Minister, who graciously answered all of our questions. We began the discussion around the new Self-Rule government that was passed on June 21st, 2009.  In the Self-Rule government system, Greenland has assumed responsibility for self-government of judicial affairs, policing, and natural resources, while Denmark still maintains control of foreign affairs and is responsible for defense matters. The enactment of the Self-Rule government has allowed the Greenlanders to become recognized as separate people from the Danish under international law, and Greenlandic is now the official language of Greenland. Despite the increase in autonomy, there does not seem to be any animosity towards the Danish and so far, the Denmark-Greenland relationship seems to be a rare example of a peaceful decolonization transition.

Greenland still receives a large subsidy of 3.4 billion Danish Kroner ($630M) from the Danish government to support the social structure and Self-Rule government, and will not be able to gain full autonomy until the need for this subsidy is removed. In order to gain more revenue, Greenland needs to develop new market sectors, which Innuteq expects will take at least 20-30 years. One of the obvious potential new sectors is resource extraction, which is becoming more and more plausible with Arctic warming due to climate change. Most people, including Innuteq, are in favor of resource extraction as a way to gain full autonomy, but are not willing to damage the environment in the process. At this point, there is only a market-based demand to extract these resources. Therefore, many companies are coming to Greenland with a strong desire to set up mines while the Greenlandic government is hastily trying to create a comprehensive review process for evaluating these endeavors as well as gather sufficient scientific advice on which avenues to pursue. As a group, this is where we might be able to help Greenland. I think that most scientists dream of a situation in which their research may contribute to the greater good, and we are no different. Giving our knowledge back to Greenland is a priority. This meeting was truly informative as well as thought provoking, and we owe a big “Thank you” to Innuteq Holm Olsen for the experience.

This afternoon, we had the privilege to meet up with a number of graduate students from the University of Greenland to talk a bit about their research, as well as about life in Greenland. Even though our research interests were not necessarily similar, we had a great conversation about what it is to be Greenlandic, to be an academic, and what it is like to live here. Throughout this trip we have been able to gather many perspectives of Greenland’s political and ideological landscape, and it was great in this meeting to gain some perspective from the young people. Later this evening we had three of our friends, Hanne, Upaluk, and Avijaja, over to our flat for dinner and great conversation. Everyone here has been so kind, friendly, and willing to share with us that it is making it hard for us to want to leave this great country next weekend.

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One of the highlights of our trip to Nuuk is the opportunity to practice communicating our science to the general public. Lone Moller of the Self Government’s Agency of Culture, Education, Research and the Church organized a two evening lecture series to provide an occasion for us to share our research. The lectures are to be held at the town center, Katuaq, which is a thriving gathering area for the people of Nuuk that houses a café, movie theatre and meeting spaces. This past Thursday we had a session with posters from each of us that explained why we are working in Greenland, and what sort of studies we are doing while here. Four of us (Julia, Lauren, Laura, and I) were also given an opportunity to give talks about our work. The audience included professors and students from the University of Greenland, representatives from the Self Government and the Inuit Circumpolar Council, researchers from the Institute of Natural Resources, and Greenlandic chef and author Anne Sofia Hardenberg. Our talks were well-received and sparked discussions about contemporary mythology regarding aquatic insects, plant uses, and changing carbon levels in the permafrost. Many thanks to Lone for organizing a successful event.

Kaitlin, Chris, and Gifford will be presenting next Thursday at 7:00.

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Nuuk continues to amaze me with how warm and wonderful the people are. Yesterday we went to meet Alfred, at the hunters and fishers association, KNAPK. Upon our arrival, he offered us some fermented Cod (actually quite good) with seal oil to dip in for lunch (also delicious) Most of our group wasn’t prepared to eat any serious quantity of these unique foods after sampling, but I’d have gladly skipped lunch to have eaten more. The KNAPK meeting began to fill out more of the different viewpoints which people in Greenland have on development, and provided us with a glimpse into how the various interests are working to try to make sure their concerns are met as Greenland develops.

I say, “as Greenland develops” rather than “if Greenland develops” intentionally. Everyone we’ve met so says that they are in favor of developing Greenland’s natural resources, including the mineral ones, but only if it’s done properly. It seems that the definition of ‘done properly,’ is where the discussion lies. There also seems to be some differing opinions as to which industries should be the focus of Greenland’s efforts to develop its domestic economy. One suggestion we heard a lot about at KNAPK, as an alternative to mineral development, was the idea of developing the value adding processing of Greenland’s catch here in Greenland. This Alfred said, would improve both the quality of the product sent to market and keep employment dollars here at home.

From the quota breakdowns we’ve been told, much of the catch in Greenland waters at this point is either taken offshore by foreign onboard-processing trawlers, which have access to Greenlandic waters by a series of international agreements, or landed in Greenland only to be block frozen and shipped to China, Poland, Spain, or other places with a cheaper and more available labor force for processing. Even the Greenland national fishing company Royal Greenland, apparently has processing plants abroad. One model for this sort of alternative fisheries development, we are told, is Iceland. Iceland has built the infrastructure for domestic processing and rapid export to the markets of Europe and North America, as well as engaged in a branding campaign to inform the public of their superior quality product, in an effort to gain better prices. The differences in the amount of money paid for fish at various stages from the ocean to the table are significant and around the world, the primary producer gets very little compared to the table price. Taking cod for example, we are told that whole, gutted cod at the docks in Nuuk fetch about 4Kr/kilo- or less than 50 cents US a pound. By the time the cod are filleted and carried up the hill to the town fish market, they fetch about 50Kr/kilo, or around $4.50 US/lb. Some of this added value is because the inedible parts of the fish are thrown away, but much of it is the labor of filleting. Shipping it to foreign markets at least doubles this value, and having it prepared at a fancy restaurant can send it through the roof. While none of the steps carry an incredible percentage of actual profits, a significant amount of labor expense is used at each step; labor, which if kept in Greenland, would mean many more dollars in the local economy.

After discussing how quotas are set and learning about the dialogue that the hunters and fishers association has with the Institute of Natural Resources to help guide the research topics and incorporate hunter’s and fishers’ knowledge into the advice given to the government for quota setting, we brought up the seal ban. The EU seal ban is one of the biggest issues for the fisherman up which is not under Greenlandic control. We’ve heard now from both the hunters and the scientists at INR is that the seal population has rapidly grown since the EU banned the importation of seal products and killed the seal market. Both seals and whales place predatory pressure on the species which are still of commercial value… and make up something like 75% of Greenland’s exports. Despite all that I’ve heard indirectly in the past (now that I think about it from lobby groups) about the seals not making a significant impact on fisheries in Canada. I’m increasingly convinced that this is simply not the case. Seals here eat stuff that fisherman catch, or stuff that is food for what the fishermen catch, and 10 million of them eat a lot of it. Greenland probably can’t afford to control the seals unless the skins and meat can be sold and cannot afford to loose productivity in its fisheries at a time when it is hoping to become more financially independent.

Though certainly far from the only cause, at least a few folks we have talked to feel that the loss of seal income and risks to fisheries productivity are another force pushing the drive toward mineral and hydropower resource development. Above and beyond the environmental concerns, which Greenlanders are struggling with about these projects, these new development projects will only provide wage-labor in a very different set of circumstances, less connected with the land and the historic culture of Greenland, than, for example, seal hunting. Though the connections are not 100%, they are real, and it is amazing to me the cascading impacts of a law made far away by people without experience in the Arctic. I imagine that many of the same people concerned about the seals well being would be interested to know the impacts of the ban on the vitality of indigenous hunting lifestyles in Greenland. The seal ban is definitely a topic we will ask other folks about to fill in more of our understanding.

All the talk of Greenlandic fisheries at KNAPK had me pretty hungry, so we decided to cook a local meal for dinner. At the grocery store we found some fresh harvested Greenlandic finger potatoes from south Greenland, which we roasted with thyme. At the hunter’s market we picked up some fresh cod which we sautéed with some lemon and chili pepper. For an appetizer, greenlandic prawns. Best dinner I’ve had all trip, and incredibly inexpensive compared to the less fresh U.S. version of the same.

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